When we worshiped at Central United Methodist in Malanje this past Sunday the team went up, as part of the service, to receive a blessing from the pastor. Really, what we did is stand by the alter and be part of a group prayer and receive a handshake with words from the pastor. There was also, of course, singing. During the singing a basket was passed that we all dutifully dropped money in. While understated, it was a nice moment in the service.
Not to long after we were told by out host that it was almost time for the offering. What was that before? I asked. He explained that what would come is the regular offering, what we had participated in before was roughly translated as the ‘Action Grace’. Action grace? I chewed those words in my mind like fresh bubblegum for the next several minutes. Almost missing, by the way, the regular offering. Which, of course, I dutifully contributed too.
Action grace. The term just clicked cogs together in by sometimes rust internal gears. As a United Methodist we talk about God in terms of motion and activity. The gospel we proclaim is not one of a God who sits around waiting for the right magic words to be spoken. Our God is not indifferent to those who do not yet know about Jesus or the Holy Spirit. Instead, our deep Wesleyan tradition grants us a doctrine that says God is very active, very alive, and very interested in you. We call this prevenient grace. The grace that flows from God and is around every person no matter how far they feel they may have strayed.
Action Grace from an Action God.
So I love this phrase. Even if I misheard him, which is possible, I don’t honestly care. Action Grace calls us to be Action Children of our Action God. We do not sit motionless or contented because our God is neither of those things. Instead, we join in the kingdom activities that God calls us to. Different for each one of us and unique as the stars above.
Action Grace. Yes, that will do nicely.