by Deacon Pat Derry
This entire Faith Formation school year has focused on God’s grace – in children’s words, “God loves us, no matter what!” We began the year learning about the life of Martin Luther, celebrating 500 years of the Reformation, and understanding Luther’s message that salvation comes by grace alone. The children learned the tenets of the Reformation, effects on worship and music, community service, media (printing press), and every person’s God-given vocation.
The children then studied Bible stories reflecting grace. The story of Jonah, who was called to proclaim God’s grace to his enemies, his refusal, and God’s lesson to set him straight. Jesus’ story of the Prodigal Son helped the children see God’s grace to everyone – to the lost son and the son who was lost even though he never left home. The penitent criminal on the cross was a witness to Jesus’ death as he pleaded for a place in Jesus’ kingdom. Jesus’ response proclaims that absolutely no one is kept from God’s grace. And last month they studied Saul’s conversion, God’s grace extended to a murderer of Christians. Grace transformed Saul the persecutor to Paul the evangelist. Paul’s call was to spread the message of God’s grace to all people – Gentiles and Jews. No one is outside of God’s Grace!The month of May will be the final Water Tower rotation of the year – Faces of Grace. The kids will study the lives of four modern witnesses to God’s grace: Mother Teresa, Corrie ten Boom, Father Greg, and Desmond Tutu. They will meet four disciples who carried God’s grace to 4 continents – India, Africa, Europe, and South America. All their stories include a sense of God calling them to this work, some already as a child. They experienced God’s grace in their lives and brought God’s grace to others. They endured hardships and suffering in order to proclaim God’s grace. But these witnesses considered it a privilege to speak of God’s love and forgiveness, and the transformation God’s grace works in people’s hearts.
Every disciple of Jesus is called to “follow me” and live out God’s love to others. Some people might hear God’s voice calling them to a special mission, like these four people did. Others might hear Jesus say “Follow me in the everyday of your life.” All of us are on a mission to praise God for God’s grace in our lives, and tell others of God’s never-ending love, God’s forgiveness, and God’s gift of transformation and new life! Our mission is to be a face of grace to others!