31 Days of Grace
The following are several excerpts from Ann Voskamp's book, One Thousand Gifts, a chapter entitled, Empty to Fill. In this chapter, she explains the idea that we are recipients of God's great grace so that we can in turn share that grace with others. It's such a powerful truth to grasp.
Eucharisto (thanksgiving) is giving thanks for grace. But in the breaking and giving of bread, in the washing of feet, Jesus makes it clear that eucharisto is, yes, more: it is giving grace away. Eucharisto is the hand that opens to receive grace, then, with thanks, breaks the bread; that moves out into the larger circle of life and washes the feet of the world with that grace. Without the breaking and giving, without the washing of feet, eucharisto isn't complete. The Communion is only complete in service. Communion, by necessity, always leads us into community.
In an endless cycle of grace, he gives us gifts to serve the world. This is how to make life great and eucharisto embarks us on the path: "Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you mist become your slave" (Matthew 20:26-27).
It's the fundamental, lavish, radical nature of the upside-down economy of God. Empty to fill. While the Deceiver jockeys to dupe us into thinking otherwise, we who are made in the image of God, being formed into Christ's likeness, our happiness comes, too, not in the having but in the handing over. Give your life way in exchange for many lives, give away your blessings to multiply blessings, give away so that many might increase, and do it all for the love of God.
God can enter into me, even me, and use these hands, these feet, to be His love, a love that goes on and on and on forever, endless cycle of grace.
(I promise I haven't forgotten about your answers to my question, what is the opposite of grace. The answers have been amazing and I want to write a post that will do them justice. Thank you so much to those who participated ... I can't wait to share everyone's answers!)