A State Of Grace

By Mike Simcik

This last Christmas Eve my wife and I went to church in the early evening. A gentle snow fell, it was indeed a silent night, a holy night and all was calm. Of course, the decorations inside abound with poinsettias, and lighted Christmas trees bordering the altar. This pristine setting was pretty much the same as I remember in years past.

We sat and listened to the sermon about the events of the past. Everyone was quiet except for a few fidgety babies not yet impressed with the liturgy and the point of interest. We sang songs about the Christ Child and the miracle of birth. We listened to how and why he was placed here on earth. After all, it is common knowledge that we are sinners by nature and it would take nothing less than an act of God to save us from ourselves.

A second thought had occurred to me, we know that Christ was born to teach us a better way to live our lives. We know he died to pardon and forgive us our sins. But is it absolutely necessary for us to sin quite so often and in so many ways?

Everything that night in church appeared the same, except me, this time I became acutely aware of my surroundings. It was no secret that I was not a member of this church like my wife is but I attended service with her on all the special occasions throughout the year.

No one took notice of my presence there because I always knew that Christians opened their hearts to all that believe in God and Christ. This year I noticed so many things about the others as they prayed, sang, and knelt in the pews before the altar.

As the parishioners walked up to the altar to receive holy communion, heads bowed in reverence, then returning to their pews, I noticed their faces. It became clear to me that these individuals were in a state of grace. For a brief hour or so, these Christians no feelings of persecution, injustice, or malice towards anyone else.

I had wondered, perhaps we should attend church six days a week for an hour free of sin, anger, and fear and on the seventh day give ourselves a rest from the turbulent world we live in.

Wouldn’t be nice, instead of hearing an irritating alarm clock buzzing every morning, we listen to Louis Armstrong’s old song, What A Wonderful World. Maybe that will put us in a state of grace before getting to that daily workplace.