…at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.  And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.  Rom. 11:5-6

I am not much of a shopper but I do enjoy antique shops and stores that are not retail chains or outlets. I like that each is different and the inventory changes constantly as items are purchased and new ones are brought in. On more than one occasion I have seen an item marked “as is.”  There might be a little chip or scratch on it. It could even be missing a part. Often the defect is difficult to find or easy to repair so you might find a unique treasure or a real bargain. 

I think people are a lot like items in an antique store or perhaps even a pawn shop. There is lots of variety, some things are not particularly interesting or useful and others are delightful treasures. I have met people I wasn’t sure about at first but have grown to care for deeply and there are others that I really thought I had a connection with and they disappointed me beyond words. Still, they are people, human beings, children of God. I am no better or worse than any of the individuals I may not be drawn to. 

The amazing thing about God is that even though we all in one way or another have an “as is” tag attached to us, God loves us regardless. No need to be perfect or even exceptional. God loves us and wants us to love him back. The verse from Romans reminds us that God’s grace is a gift to us, not something we have to work for. We can’t earn it, buy it or steal it. It is grace, God’s amazing grace. 

Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come;
 ’tis grace has brought me me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home. 
[stanza 3, Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound]

The Rev. Ellen Meissgeier