When I was sixteen, I wrecked one of our family’s two cars. It was an old Volkswagen and, while it didn’t represent a huge monetary loss, it was a big deal in my development. As I stood by the car which was mashed into a tree off the side of the road, some things my father had tried to teach me came to mind. Together we had worked really hard on my driving preparations. The clutch was very tight and not easy to manipulate. My confidence had soared one day when, sitting in traffic on a steep hill, I had moved my foot from the brake to the accelerator and simultaneously eased the clutch out with the other foot in such a finely coordinated motion that the car glided forward without the slightest hitch. “That’s impressive,” my father had said, confirming my suspicions that I was probably the best driver in the state of South Carolina.
The crunched car now, however, showed that I wasn’t quite as adept as I thought. Any number of times my dad had said, “Any wreck you have is your fault. If you are paying attention, you will be able to avoid any accident.” There were some mitigating circumstances: as I rounded the sharp right curve on Arrowwood Road, a car coming from the other direction was partially in my lane. I had to move the car over to the shoulder to get by and then had lost control of the car. I could blame it all on the other guy and may have had a good case. But I knew my dad was right. I was going too fast. I was paying close attention to what I was doing but I was not thinking ahead far enough to be prepared for what the other driver might be doing. The wreck was my fault. Some of what my dad had said earlier presented itself now as my own truth.
In life there is the teaching. And then there is the learning. The first doesn’t guarantee the second. But when I am learning, all the teaching suddenly becomes so very alive. I can be told a truth. But it doesn’t really become truth until I have learned it for myself, until it is my truth. Then things begin to come together. We learn, we grow, we are transformed, and, if we are paying attention, we become aware of something larger than our mere ability to figure things out. When the student is ready, the teacher emerges.
Within God’s eternal creative nature, there is the redeeming act of Jesus Christ, and the sustaining force of the Holy Spirit. Creation, redemption, sustenance, have all been going on forever and will go on forever. Alongside that eternal nature of God, we have human sin. The eternal truth of God’s nature is on-going and we don’t see it, we ignore it, refuse to accept it. Sin separates us from God’s eternal nature. Grace breaks through sin, however, and the truth of God’s love becomes our truth. We come to recognize that God is at work. The lessons, the guidance, the peace and clarity that we yearn for are always right there for us. Oftentimes it takes brokeness to lead to a breakthrough of understanding. We can’t know grace until we know it. When we do know it, we recognize it has always been there. Truth abides and so it allows us to abide in that truth. It is not some elusive prize but a force which sustains us and breaks through the sin which captivates us.
These teachable moments in our lives, times when we are open to learning, are evidence that God’s grace awaits our acceptance. Probably the only reason these moments are occasional rather than constant is that we are fallen and in great need of a savior. The teachable moments are reminders of our sinfulness, yet evidence that grace ultimately defeats sin. The resurrection is the reality that sin is defeated. Even though sin still is operative in our lives and we are held captive in many ways, we get reminders that the work of our savior is on-going. The breakthroughs we experience in life are triumphs of God himself. He waits for our understanding, our acceptance of his will for us. And when we are open, grace abounds. When the student is ready, the teacher emerges.
Robert C. Wisnewski, Jr.
Special Events Around the Corner
EYC Parents’ Meeting – August 20 at noon
Acolyte Captains – August 20 at noon
Young Adults’ Supper Club – August 24 at 6:30 pm
Family Promise Speaker – August 27 at 9:15 am
Acolyte Training for all acolytes – August 27 at noon
Fall Kickoff Sunday – September 10
Men’s Group Starts – September 11 at 6:15 pm
Organ Recital by Joel Gregory – September 14 at 7:00 pm
Family Promise – Homeless Family Ministry – September 17-24
Blessing of the Animals – October 1 at 5:00 pm
Evensong – October 15 at 4:00 pm
Halloween Carnival – October 25 at 6:00 pm
Ordination to the Priesthood for Jamie Osborne – November 18 at 11:00 am
Bazaar – November 15
Stop Hunger Now – November 26 – need 100 volunteers!
Handel’s Messiah – December 8 at 7:00 pm