Bread – Me

April 9, 2012


Readings for Monday, April 9, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Exod. 12:14-27; 1 Cor. 15:1-11; Mark 16:1-8; Psalms 66, 93, 98

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“”But by the grace of God I am what I am…” 1 Cor. 15:10. So says Paul about himself.

The context of this statement is Paul’s recounting to the Corinthians his passage from persecutor of the Church to apostle for Jesus Christ, from radical disbelief in the person, position, and power of Jesus Christ to radical belief in Him, from hatred to love, from worldly power and position to spiritual power and position. After he notes that he has been made an apostle by the appearance of Jesus to him and was unworthy for the position, he notes, however, that “but for the grace of God I am what I am.”

I have called this Bread “Me” not because it is about me, the writer, but because it is about us as individual pilgrims. Each of us who would claim victory in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the “Me” today.

Can we say to ourselves in the mirror that “By the grace of God I am what I am…?” If so, why do we dwell so much on our worries, our self-doubts, our poor circumstances, our seeming ineffectiveness, our unattractiveness, etcetera?

If I am what I am by the grace of God, then who I am and am becoming, what I am and am becoming, and how I am and am becoming are a gift from God. My position in life is by the grace of God. My marriage or singleness, my children (if any), my job or joblessness, my situation no matter how pleasant or desperate is who I am, by the grace of God.

How can we say this in the face of misery, in the face of trouble, in the face of calamity, in the face of hatred, in the face of opposition, in the face of lovelessness, in the face of poverty? To say that I am what I am by the grace of God appears to sometimes be the height of foolishness. In our most trying moments we almost want to say that, if I am what I am by the grace of God, then God turn off the grace so I can be someone else.

We can say what Paul said in the worse of circumstances because when we have Jesus Christ as our Lord we have treasure far exceeding our misery, joy which knows no bounds, love which never ends, the power of God in all circumstances.

There is a second aspect to this, as well, however. By the grace of God I am what I am but also by the grace of God I am not who I am becoming. Immediately following Paul’s statement that he is what he is by the grace of God, he then says “I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” 1 Cor. 15:10b The grace of God makes me who I am, but the grace of God working hard within me makes me who I am becoming.

There are two tendencies on Monday morning. The first is to look in the mirror and be depressed. The second is to look in the mirror and smile.

Knowing that we are who we are by the grace of God, sustained by His power for good works, infused by God with the spirits of power, love, and self-discipline, which tendency do you think we will engage the Monday morning mirror with?

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One Response to “Bread – Me”

  1. BobL Says:

    Fantastic blog – I wish I’d written every word of this. And it’s just what I needed today. After Stations of the Cross on Friday and quite an Easter Service yesterday, I woke up feeling down this morning. And I look at how blessed I am and wonder, “How could I possibly feel down about anything?” So today’s “Bread” is a big chunk of getting me back on the right track. Thank you!


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