Stories of grace, with or without God

I’ve pointed out “grace” within the context of a story a couple times lately on this blog. Here and here. I used the word again at home last week. My son and I watched The Royal Tenenbaums (he had seen it before but it was the first time for me). We both agreed that the end was full of grace for the troubled Tenenbaum family.

I recently read Scot McKnight’s new book, Embracing Grace, which is all about grace, as the title implies. Here is how McKnight describes the flow of grace in our lives:

God embraces you and me and

God embraces others and

God embraces the whole created order.



You and I embrace God back and

We embrace others and

We embrace the entire created order.

To illustrate this flow, McKnight offers up stories of saints and martyrs, poets and authors, celebrities and abolitionists. Into these lives, God has intervened with grace by giving the beginning embrace, triggering embrace in all directions.

I think there is a link between the story about God by Rilke that I wrote about a while back and this flow of God embracing us and others first and our subsequent embracing back of God and others. In Rilke’s story about God there was no mention of God, but the lack of mention didn’t mean His absence. I think there is much embracing of us and others by God going on in which God seems so silent or so absent that we may find little reason to credit Him with the grace that has entered our lives through any of a number of means: a restored relationship, new hope, a second chance, joy. So many stories of grace with no mention of God, like the stories gathered together at the end of Magnolia and The Royal Tenenbaums. Look around and see how many you can find. Find the grace and track it back to its source.

As McKnight writes, "The gospel is designed to unleash the cycle of grace for the good of the world."