Attempting to make it to Japan Town in San Francisco, we took the bus a bit too far. It was by the Grace of God.
As I was realizing we may be quite a few blocks away from our destination, a gorgeous woman on the sidewalk in gloves and a hat asked if we would join her for church. I looked up, and it is a United Methodist Church. Having missed the previous Sunday due to this work/vacation traveling, I was hungry for God’s Grace in a worship service.
My mom and I followed her into a simple and elegant sanctuary where every single soul who passed us smiled and greeted us, welcoming us to worship. We were seated next to a long-time member in the back so we could leave early. They were very understanding that we were tourists and had plans for the day. Such compassionate Grace.
The lovely woman we were seated next to requested that someone hand us the songbooks. That included the current United Methodist Hymnal – a book that looks much like home and an old friend to me. There’s a comforting presence that comes over me when I see this book of beloved songs and affirmations. This gift of God’s Grace was beginning to be overwhelming.
There was much singing in the beginning. The voices raised were honest and passionate. Each loving voice blended into a magnificent song of praise. I hope a visitor would feel the same at my home church. The Grace was sung beautifully.
A young man read the scripture, a young woman sang a solo in the choir, the pastor preached a heart-warming sermon, and God’s Grace was in every moment, and has lasted weeks after.
Their church was destroyed in the 1989 earthquake. They not only rebuilt, but managed to save some of the stained glass and include it in the new building. The Grace shown through the glass.
Moral of the Story: Home is where you take it. Grace is where you live it.