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In February 1924, New Yorkers gathered around their radios to hear a live performance of Beethoven’s ninth Symphony. But there was one listener who didn’t hear a thing. It wasn’t because her radio wasn’t tuned in. Instead, it was because she was deaf from childhood. Her name was Hellen Keller. Even though she couldn’t hear the broadcast, she managed to experience it in her own way. She turned the radio up and reached out to the speaker; literally feeling the cellos, brass and drums with her fingers.
The difference between Keller and the rest of the radio audience reminded me of the many unique ways that we can experience God’s grace and mercy. Like the radio program, God’s grace is always being “broadcast” to us through Christ Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. This grace is an outpouring of God’s love for us – his sons and daughters. But so often, we can fall back into thinking that our access to this expression of divine love is limited. We sit back, away from the radio, just listening with our ears.
But I think we’re called to be like Hellen Keller: we’re called to draw near, turn the volume up and reach out to receive and interact with that grace with all that we are. We’re meant to experience it first-hand in every dimension of our lives. We know that in Christ, God drew near to us. Recognizing our need, our sinful and broken humanity, he came to forgive, save and reconcile us. He did not come to bring condemnation. Rather, he joined himself to us, and in our place and on our behalf overcame temptation, triumphed over evil and death and brings us into the very presence of God our Father.
It’s because of that great sacrifice that we never have to fear that we’ve disqualified ourselves or put ourselves at such a distance that we can’t receive God’s free gift of grace and mercy. Instead, we can live in touch with his life-transforming grace so that our whole lives resonate with his heavenly music.
I’m Joseph Tkach, Speaking of LIFE.