Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Were it not for grace...

There, but for the grace of God, go I.

The story that is widely circulated is that the phrase was first spoken by the English evangelical preacher and martyr, John Bradford (circa 1510–1555). He is said to have uttered the variant of the expression - "There but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford", when seeing criminals being led to the scaffold. He didn't enjoy that grace for long, however. He was burned at the stake in 1555, although, by all accounts he remained sanguine about his fate and is said to have suggested to a fellow victim that "We shall have a merry supper with the Lord this night."

[This story is often questioned, so don't necessarily count it as fact.  But, even if it was made up, it serves its purpose.]

It challenged me to think that when I see someone in the wrong, do I judge them?  Do I think to myself I would never... or do I thank God for his grace knowing "there, but for the grace of God, go I..."

There is an, albeit cheesy song titled "Were it Not for Grace."  (Larnelle Harris) Its lyrics are fitting.

Were it not for grace
I can tell you where Id be
Wandering down some pointless road to nowhere
With my salvation up to me
I know how that would go
The battles I would face
Forever running but losing this race
Were it not for grace

So... were it not for grace, I fill in the blank.

Thankful for grace,