The comedy of grace

th-9We need not take ourselves so seriously.

We ended last week with laughter — how there is humor in God planting His Holy Spirit in these frail, fallible, human vessels of ours. That’s grace, and there is a part of grace that is comical.

Frederick Buechner calls it in the subtitle for his book on telling the truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy and Fairy Tale. The tragedy is sin; the fairy tale is the “and-they-all-lived-happily-ever-after” ending; and the comedy is everything in between. Not to make light of the many awful tragedies of human existence, but to put them in the context of grace, where God’s grace ultimately conquers all, and we laugh in the victory. Sometimes we can even laugh in the tragedy because we can see the ultimate victory through the eyes of faith.

Two sisters got ahold of me last week because they were with their beloved mother in a hospice home, waiting for the inevitable, which appeared to be only days away. They got ahold of me because, in reminiscing about their lives with their mother, they recalled many special moments spent at the camp I mentioned in Friday’s Catch, and the catalyst for those memories was one of my songs, “the All Day Song” or “Love Him in the morning…” The sisters got to thinking how great it would be if I could be at their mother’s service and sing that song, so one of them found us on the Internet and sent me an email.  I love it when people act on ideas like this, and I would have done it if I didn’t already have a full month with more deadlines than I can meet.

I did offer them the song, however, and sent it to them as a download and encouraged them to play it for their mother, which they did. I mentioned that I sang that song at my own mother’s bedside a few weeks before her death, and how she opened her eyes after 24 hours of being totally unresponsive, and was clear as a bell in blessing a 6-month old Chandler whom I had with me.

I mentioned that especially because their description of their mother so much reminded me of mine. They said she was a faithful church woman, but her real love was a Bible study outside the church that she taught to a bunch of “worldly,” non-church-goers. This was exactly the case with my mother, so much so that many of these women showed up at her funeral service, and were the most vocal about what my mother had meant to them. While most of the church people, who thought my mother’s life revolved only around them, looked on and wondered who these people were! No big deal … they’re just a bunch of “pagans” my mom led to the Lord!

When the sisters said they had played the song for their mother a number of times, I suggested they not overdo it for fear she might sit up and tell them to please stop playing that song — a little humor that was not inappropriate, given the hope that lies ahead for her and them. It’s just a part of the comedy of grace.

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One Response to The comedy of grace

  1. Carole in Midland says:

    As usual, John, this Catch could not have been more timely. I learned yesterday that my dear friend, Roma Lee W., who is in her 80s, has widespread metastatic cancer. This woman was a friend of my parents when I was a small child. They lost contact for many years, but Roma Lee reconnected with my mom via email a few years before my mom died. After Mom’s death, Roma Lee kept in touch with me. She has lifted me up, backed up my prayers,and listened to me whine and made me laugh. She serves her church as organist, takes food to shut-ins, carries folks to doctors’ visits – whatever is needed, she does it – not to mention she’s a social butterfly who goes out to lunch, has dinner with friends, and goes out dancing whenever she gets the chance. She does more in one day than I do in a month. And everywhere she goes, she takes Jesus with her. I just got off the phone with her – and wouldn’t you know it? Here I call to encourage HER, and she ends up encouraging ME. I pray for her peace in the midst of this storm – but she assures me she already has that. It is JUST like Roma Lee to share with me and the scads of friends who love her the peace that she’s been given and to reassure US that all is well and that WE will be alright, too. I’ve already sent in my prayer request on her behalf and am so thankful for the Catch’s prayer warriors. I imagine all of Heaven is bombarded with requests for Roma Lee’s healing, but you know, I think I and her friends are asking for that more for OUR benefit than hers… none of us want to say goodbye to this dear lady. She told me that she thinks she will have her funeral before she dies so she can play the music she likes best and makes sure everyone gets things RIGHT in their eulogies – kind of a dress rehearsal. That’s my friend, making me laugh thru my tears.

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