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Grace and Mercy

November 18, 2014


Recently, I had the unique opportunity to attend leadership training with two episcopal leaders. The topic of discussion was standards of excellence in clergy leadership. During the panel discussion, one episcopal leader was asked, “If you could begin again, what would you do differently?” You can imagine that many were listening intently to hear some very practical words of wisdoms.

Here was the response:

“Realizing that we live our lives between the grace of God and the mercy of God, I am thankful and grateful. However, if I had it to do over again, I would have taken better care of my health, I would have taken better care of my relationships (spouse, children, family etc.) and I would have taken better care of my soul.”

The response was so honest and transparent that it caused me and others to reflect on our spiritual journeys and the implications of health, relationships, and spiritual development.

The response also reminded me of a quote from Henri J. Nouwen, author of “In The Name of Jesus.” Nouwen asked himself, “Did becoming older bring me closer to Jesus?” Nouwen tackles the human temptations of power, the need to be relevant, the need be viewed as spectacular, and the need to be in control over and against the willingness to live a prayerful, Jesus-centered life with the integrity and compassion of Christ.

As we approach the close of the standard Christian liturgical year, Christ the King Sunday, and move into the season of Advent, may we take the time to begin anew in reflection of both spiritual obedience and ethical action, releasing the need to embrace those human temptations of power and control and refocusing on what’s really important.

It’s all grace and mercy.

Because the Lord is good, his loyal love lasts forever; his faithfulness lasts generation after generation. Psalm 100:5

Rev. Denise Walton serves as the Assistant to the Bishop for Connectional Ministries. Contact her at

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