Grace Abounds

By Mary Kay Totty The closest eatery to Dumbarton UMC was the Five Guys Burgers at the corner of Dumbarton and Wisconsin, a mere half block from the church. Five Guys was a favorite lunch spot for young adult Dumbartonians. Many a Sunday they wokuld wander over for a burger and soda. When the weather cooperated, they may bring their burgers back to the church steps for an impromptu picnic. I appreciate the hospitality these young adults extend to their pastor by always welcoming me to join them when my Sunday schedule permits.

      When I go to Five Guys with the young adults, I always get an order of fries with my burger. The fries are excellent -- cut from fresh potatoes, skins included. And the servings are huge. A regular order of fries is a 12 oz styrofoam cup, except it is always far more than one cup full. Fries from Five Guys are a "good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over" (Luke 6:38). They serve an abundance of fries with a very generous hand.

    I have come to believe that Five Guys fries are a sign and foretaste of the kin-dom of God. Yes, that's right -- this secular, for profit burger joint has something to say about the kin-dom of God.

    Most of the time these days, people see the world from a zero-sum mentality and a scarcity perspective. We go around behaving as if when something good happens to one person it must mean something bad has to happen to another. We grab and buy and hoard believing that we have to get everything we possibly can because there is not enough to go around. We live in fear of not having enough. We believe we lose when someone else wins. We are tight-fisted and stingy.

    So in the United States, we build fences to keep immigrants out because we think the "American Dream" is a limited edition. We ban same gender couples from marriage because we are convinced that LGBT people winning the right to full equality somehow means that heterosexuals lose equality. We feel like our parents love our brother or our sister more because love is in short supply and must be rationed. Many of the powers that be would keep us living in fear imprisoned by a zero-sum mentality.  This my friends, is not what the gospel teaches.

    Like Five Guys fries, grace abounds! Love abounds! There is more than enough of the stuff of this world for you, for me, for them, for all of us. Certainly, there are things we need to change about how we live and distribute the world's resources, but there are sufficient resources if we are wise and if we share.

    The amazing thing about love is that it reproduces better than rabbits, the more we love, the more we are able to love. Love given means love grows and expands -- we will not run out of love.

    Grace is bestowed upon us by God, in good measure, pressed down and overflowing. We can't buy grace, we can't earn grace, but it is always offered to us with a surprising generosity that we do not expect.

    We help build the kin-dom of God when we are as extravagent with our love and grace as Five Guys are with their french fries.