Posts Tagged ‘Epiphany’

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On the 12th day of Christmas, my true-love gave to me a look back at the spiritual journey of the Old Stone Church which brought us to this day. I doubt you will ever get through the videos in this post in one sitting (or at all), but perhaps there was something that truly spoke to you as you made your way to Bethlehem again this year. Please feel free to share your Advent/Christmas comments below, or share these Advent/Christmas videos with others. May God bless you this 12th Day of Christmas, tomorrow (Monday) on Epiphany and the throughout the whole year ahead!

Peace and Love,
R. Mark Giuliano
The Old Stone Church


Matthew 2:1-12
The Magi had a star as their guiding light. What’s yours? 

Star of WonderIt’s a snowy Thursday morning and I’m still in my jammies. I’m working on a sermon about grace. This Sunday, the first one of the New Year, is Epiphany Sunday. It seems to me that if we can have just one guiding principle to follow this year, just as the Magi of yore had a star to follow as their guiding light, grace might just be a good one . . .

Grace is more than we deserve, greater than we can imagine and all that we need, says Max Lucado and others. It is God’s unconditional mercy expressed through the love, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and it changes everything: how we look out our own lives and how we look at others.

By faith, when we embrace God’s grace we are enabled to live with courage in the face of fear, hope in times of discouragement, peace-making in times of conflict, freedom in a world of boundaries, unabashed love for others when so many hearts are hardened. Well, you get the idea; grace turns the world upside down!

A Double Double?
The wonderful thing about grace is that it has a double whammy impact on our lives. First, God’s grace deliver’s unconditional salvation through Christ. Secondly, God’s grace continues to sanctify us, make us holy, throughout our lifetime. If I were in Canada, we might call this a “double, double.”

A longtime ago, the big-daddy of the reformation, John Calvin, called it double grace:

“Christ was given to us by God’s generosity, to be grasped and possessed by us in faith. By partaking of him, we principally receive a double grace: namely, that being reconciled to God through Christ’s blamelessness, we may have in heaven instead of a Judge a gracious Father; and secondly, that sanctified by Christ’s spirit we may cultivate blamelessness and purity of life.” – John Calvin, Institutes III

Isn’t that just like grace? Two for the price of one – both salvation and sanctification, and the first one is free!

How has grace impacted your life?

As I continue doing my prayerful, careful work on grace in preparation for Sunday’s sermon, I’d love to hear from you about some of the ways grace has impacted in your life. Please feel free to comment! The fact that I am still in my jammies, sitting by the fire on this snowy Thursday morning, exploring God’s love for the world sure seems a lot like grace to me.

Grace and Peace!
R. Mark Giuliano
The Old Stone Church, Cleveland