By Pastor Deb Stehlin

It feels like grace

As I write this post, there is yet another windchill warning, and more snow is expected later this week. As a traveling preacher, I had kind of hoped that getting where I need to go would become easier now that it’s March. But I have to tell you that I’m really grateful for the blizzard last weekend.

I was scheduled to preach at Holy Trinity Lutheran in New Prague. When it was announced that Sunday morning travel was “not advised,” I decided to drive there on Saturday and stay at a hotel. Pastors Ben and Alicia Hilding insisted on making the arrangements for me. That was kind.

When I got to my room, a gift was waiting for me. Wow! Kindness upon unexpected kindness. Then, I was told that the staff and their families wanted me to come to dinner with them at the Fishtale Restaurant. “As long as we’ve been thrown a curveball, we might as well turn it into a party,” said Pastor Ben. It felt like grace.


THAT’S WHEN IT BECAME clear to me: This congregation knows how to embody God’s love. We are pretty good at telling people that God loves them, but it’s really when we provide an experience of God’s surprising, unexpected, undeserved love that it really sinks in.

“When we provide an experience of God’s surprising, unexpected, undeserved love, it really sinks in.”

God did the same thing for us. Rather than using only words, God came to us in Jesus, who embodied a radical, self-giving, undeserved love. And then, Jesus told us to love others the way he loves us.

I have two days to decide what my Lenten discipline will be. Right now, I’m thinking that I’m going to look for ways to demonstrate God’s surprising grace whenever I can. Because when you’ve received it, it’s not something you can keep to yourself. God’s grace is something you just have to give away.