The Bible has God say, “I will Be Gracious unto whom I will Be Gracious,” and yet every reader knows that whoever calls on God will be answered, whether they be specifically called like Abraham or Moses, or whether they be somebody who struggled to find God without yet knowing God’s name. (Job was a non-Jew who was God’s servant, for instance.) Though I know as a Jew this may be a bit heretical, I sometimes believe that Jesus and Mohammad searched for God and yet searched outside of the mainstream of the Jewish religion… their followers may be recipients of Grace the way Jews are when they heed to their founder’s core teachings. The only thing I have against following them myself is that I have my own path, which I cleave to as Israel cleave to her God in times of trouble.
Yet the aspect of Grace I am thinking about right now is that Grace is undeserved forgiveness. At times in Israel’s history, God has called on Israel to turn back to God as an Act of Grace. Or at least, this is the teachings of the prophets, whether Isaiah or Hosea and other prophets. And I am personally in need of Grace right now. It has to do with a business dealing, with carelessness on my part. Carelessness is a sin, and one I have always been prone to. I learned as a Jew that timeliness is a virtue, and even though Jews joke that people showing up late to our shul is “Jewish Standard Time.” Jews are not always the timeliest of people, and yet–except for this business dealing–I have finally learned punctuality.
I also learned that if I could get a certain amount of work done each day, then I make God smile. If I finish reading 100 pages, or if not that (at the moment I don’t appear to be managing it) 50 pages, God smiles on me. If, contrariwise, I am writing, I try to get at least one or two 7 page chapters written or one 7 or more page story, and if I am successful, God smiles on me. Today, I plan to work on “Daddy, Why Do We Go to Church?” a short story for a book Further Tales of Opossum Creek, a sequel to Poor Folk. I don’t expect to get it all done, but I believe if I get the chunks on Esther and Ruth done, God will smile… and then, perhaps, after supper–which, with God smiling on, I will bake–I will read 50 more pages of The Complete Folktales of A. N. Afanas’ev, Volume II.
Anyway, if the reader will pray for me to get what needs done done, and that I make no more mistakes businesswise, I would appreciate it. And I will finish with the words: Today despite my sins I will focus on that ancient truth, that we are all little children to God–and all in need of Grace.