grace, love, and power

the three essentials for the joy of life

by Robert Brow   (web site -

Without grace life is drab, harsh, pointless, unforgiving. Without love we feel orphaned, rootless, estranged, and we can literally die of loneliness. Without power we feel insignificant, discouraged, boring, lacking in creativity.

 This is why Christians often end their gatherings by saying "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you." This a shorthand way of describing the joyful experience of God above us, God beside us, and God within us.

 When we turn to God like a little child to a parent, we find ourselves loved, at home in the universe, and protected in an environment where we can learn, grow, play, explore, find out what life is about.

 If we turn to God beside us, we find we can talk to a friend, one who cares for us at his own cost, goes the extra mile, forgives and picks us up when we fail. And, having gone through death himself, he promises to greet us on the other side. Eventually we also discover that our friend turns out to be the reigning King of the Kingdom of Heaven.

 Power is experienced as inspiration, encouragement, relating in the family of God, transformation, being able to influence others by prayer for good, having gifts to contribute.

 But life is not just milk and honey, roses and kisses. Like any truly loving parent, good friend, or wise counselor, God is very tough. We are in a world where trying to live without love has disastrous consequences. Those who are graceless, harsh, and unforgiving soon suffer torments (Matthew's Gospel 18:34-35). And people who try to bumble along with their own wisdom and power are condemned to the misery of humiliating failure.

 Theologians call our experience of God a Trinity of grace, love, and power. But this is not an academic idea, or a philosophy for discussion. It is experienced by faith. We can begin very simply by talking to God as parent, or God as friend, or God as the wise counselor. Even if we have doubts, and wonder whether we believe in God at all, once the very personal conversation with God begins, joy comes seeping in through all the cracks of our life.

model theology home | essays and articles | books | sermons | letters to surfers | comments