Steve Hovater’s post on Grace and Mission serves as a correction to one of the issues that has plagued much of the missional world. “Grace,” as a word, is absent from much missional writing. I would argue that grace is inherently present in the great missional movement of God, the Missio Dei. After all, it’s a grand narrative about a God who seeks us with abandon and goes to where we are with his love…and then his Son.
However, “grace” has often been limited to the act of Jesus dying for our sins. Granted, this is a huge part of the story of God’s love for us. However, it bypasses such things as creation, the story of Israel, the Exodus, and the presence of the Holy Spirit in the early church. This whole movement is one of grace, leading us from sin to salvation, from death to life, from darkness to light, from despair to hope, from bondage to freedom.
When one expands their notion of the Kingdom of God beyond “the sweet by and by” to include the inbreaking of the kingdom in our midst today, we can see each healing, each act of comfort, each hand reaching across the cultures to provide a word of life as the grace of Christ, present in the world today and, indeed, saving still.
And being saved by grace isn’t the end of the story. Says Hovater:
With these understandings of God’s grace, it’s important to note that a missional view of grace, humans who receive these forms of grace become agents of grace themselves. They become people who generously extend God’s grace to others in all its forms. They help people flourish and live, acting as agents of life in the world. They practice forgiveness, and stand for wholeness. not only do they participate in God’s mission themselves, but they welcome others into it as well. In living generously, the grace of God that has become wrapped into their story is unleashed on the other people around them, seeping into the cracks of the broken world. Missional Christians become people of Grace, modeling in their own lives what they have received from God.
All of it is grace; wonderful, awesome, and amazing grace.
And all of it is part of the great missional movement of our God.