Romans 3:23-24 – For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (NIV)
There's a beautiful church on University Avenue in my hometown of Glasgow. It sits directly across the road from the university itself. It's called Wellington Church, and I suspect it was named after the Duke of Wellington, the victorious general who defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo.
The church looks like a Greek temple — its style was popular with architects when it was built. The church building sits almost at the top of the hill, and if it weren't dwarfed by the university, it would be seen for miles around.
Students go to the church every weekday because the congregation serves a cheap lunch, which most of the students appreciate, especially at the end of each semester when funds are low. The pastor usually eats with the students and mingles with them, listening to their stories, enjoying their conversation, and sometimes giving them advice.
But what's all this got to do with today's verse? Well, years ago, someone spray-painted graffiti on the front of the church with a message that read, "No one died for my sins." It upset many of the church people, and there was talk of stopping the lunches until the graffiti was removed. But the pastor saw the event as a means to show the grace of God, so the graffiti remained, and the lunches continued. As word got around, the number of students using the facilities increased. Eventually after several years, the wind and the rain diminished the graffiti, but the mission of the church was enhanced. Christ's grace triumphed, and hundreds of young lives were kept connected to God.
Today, we may be given several opportunities to rush to judgment or to reveal Christ's grace. Let's hope that we each choose the latter and extend the witness of our faith to others through Christ's patient love.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, where would we be without Your grace? Our lives would be full of judgments and criticisms, complaints and protests. Help us today to live by Your grace, and may our thoughts, words, and actions reveal to others Your love, patience, and acceptance. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.