Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Virtue Ethics: An Ethical Development Program for High School Youth

Handout 2: Grace Reflections

Part of Virtue Ethics

"[Grace]... is God's granting Salvation not in reward for the moral worth of the human but as a free and undeserved gift of love."

William S. Babcock, Christian scholar

"To trust the context—the place in which we must live out our lives—to trust in spite of the chaos and the tragedy, rather than living in terror of what we have not made and cannot control—this is to live gracefully.

To accept the givens of our personal existence and to act responsibly, to act purposefully, in trust, this is to achieve and to experience a state of grace, a graceful being. Yet I have not known anyone who has lived grace-fully who has not struggled to live in that way, struggled to learn from pain that has no meaning, and borne the cost of letting go and letting be.

But, I assure you, there is grace. I have felt it at times engulf me, restore me, and bless me with a passing vision of harmony and balance. I do not believe that grace is a gift imposed on us from above. I believe that grace is a standing invitation, the universe outstretched as a hand we beat against until we are finally able to rest into it."

Edward Frost (Unitarian Universalist minister) from "Amazing Grace," an article from the blog, Frostings.

"So what is grace? Grace is getting more than we deserve. It's not winning the jackpot—winning the lottery is luck, not grace. Instead, grace is finding an unexpected moment of peace while taking a walk. Grace is learning something new and amazing about a friend you've had for years. We encounter grace when we hear a song by a group we've never heard of that changes our lives, or when we make a difference volunteering because we signed up and showed up.

Grace can feel like a wave of relief or a spike of pain, but it always leads us in the path of more hope, more trust, more love.

Grace is always there, waiting to happen. Grace is very patient. And polite. Grace never imposes itself. Grace can surprise us, but it doesn't force itself on us. Grace is a willing partner and a constant friend, but it never invades, even when our experience of grace feels overwhelming. This is at the core of the universalist message: There is always more than enough grace to go around.

There's no amount of good deeds we can do, and there's no magic prayer we can pray, that will guarantee we receive grace. We receive grace, not because we deserve it, but because the universe is fundamentally a generous place... . Grace isn't just something we receive; it's also something in our power to give. In the early verses of the book of Genesis, it says that we are created in God's image. If it's the nature of God to give grace, then it's our nature, too. We are most like God when we are being graceful to one another, when we make room for the presence of another, whatever the consequences."

Chance Hunter from "Grace wins in the end" an article from UU World (Spring, 2011)