The Rev. Twila Smith
Grace & Mediator, Allentown

“So too at the present time there is a remnant,
chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works,
otherwise grace would no longer be grace.”  – Romans 11:5


Through the dormant season, at the bus stop where my daily pilgrimage often begins, a scrappy patch of dried-up vegetation caught my eye as I, too, steadied myself against brick, deflecting the harsh wind’s sway. Would the old building to which we clung be enough to sustain us? Time revealed an outcome we could not then see.

Once in awhile, a drain pipe funneled a bit of drizzle through a small crack in the concrete, each drop like a tear, forming then disappearing to the earth below. For a long time, it seemed nothing more than a sad, futile scene, and I was stuck there with it, day after day.

Merciful God, the hurts of this world need your healing rain. How can we stand firm in the wake of death and destruction? How can we, small in numbers, bring forth enough hope for these bitter times? We need … What is it we need to be your Church amid such strife?

With a little more light, a little more water, a little more time – so little more as to be barely discernible – that scrappy patch was greening and growing. Everything necessary was there. Now blossoms leap forth in the sun, greeting passers-by with their testimony of resilience over assumptions of fate.

I know that it is but a remnant, chosen by grace. And that is more than enough. Nothing else but you, O Christ, can bring new life to what appears too far gone … or it would no longer be grace.