christianA few Presbyterian College chapels ago I was reminded about finding Jesus in my work. Today I was reminded about finding grace.  The speaker was Brigadier-General D. Kettle, who is a really high ranking (highest?) Chaplain in the Canadian Forces.

The two bible readings for that day were Exodus 17:1-7 and Matthew 20:1-16.

The sermon began ominously. After Brg. Gen. Kettle read the gospel reading, with great force I might add, he finished by said  something to the effect of “here is the word of God” (but a longer version) by waving his big Bible in his hand. And then, he placed the Bible back on the chair he was earlier seated in and opened the notes to preach which were on the pulpit.

I couldn’t help but feel that the Bible is really diminishing in importance… in general… being “used” rather than being listened to… especially since the power of the bible was so evident… at least the reading alone had made me want to focus on what that text said in more detail.

Anyway… the sermon, thankfully, did have something to do with the Bible readings, in that they picked up the idea of God’s undeserved grace in both texts.

Brg. Gen. Kettle also gave an interesting anecdote about how recently a senior Army big-wig thanked him for saving his career. It seems, more than a decade ago, when this guy (I forgot his designation) was a low-rank officer… he became extremely discouraged and one night he decided to quit. But out of the dark, that night, walked in Kettle who was just a chaplain back then and found him and talked to him. What he said gave this man courage and encouraged him to persevere. Brg. Gen. Kettle however confessed that he not only did not recollect anything that night, but also had no idea what he was doing in those days. He had no idea about where he was, or where he was going, or even to whom he was talking to. But he was so delighted to see that in his inability God was present and used him as grace for someone else.

Anyway… the rest of the sermon highlighted grace in similar (testimonial) kinds of ways.

Through the sermon I realised that in academics, in the field of high criticism… there is a tendency… at least in me… to be really hard on myself (and others). And as a result, we (I) fail to see God’s goodness for us and through others.

I found myself having to remind myself about the good things that were happening around me… things I had simply failed to perceive or forgotten… and suddenly my academic struggles were put into perspective.

Literally, the one who has seen me through… will see me through till the end.