The Gospel According to Frederick Buechner

“Grace is something you can never get but only be given. The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you I created the universe. I love you. There’s only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you reach out and take it. Maybe being able to reach and take it is a gift too.” -Frederick Buechner "Wishful Thinking"

Sometimes paragraphs stop you in their tracks. The challenge awakening a disconnect from your life and reality. Other times the words and syntax buzz into your mind and heart and all you know to do is shout “yes” and “Amen.”

Frederick Buechner a writer, novelist, and ordained pastor in his book Wishful Thinking describes grace (above) in ways reserved for shouts of hallelujahs and amens.

“Don’t be afraid… I am with you… Grace can be yours if you reach out and take it.”

For those following along… we end the solemn journey of Lent, and come to the cross of Good Friday, and resurrection of Easter this weekend. 

As a pastor looking for words to describe what is happening in the economy of God and his world. I want the church to understand what the God-man is up to in our lives and the world. 

I study, pray, boil it down, summarize, and explain and exegete and rally the church to lives of worship and sacrifice. And when I’m dumfounded for words and summaries and exegesis falls short. 

I come to the word of all words. Summaries of all summaries. 


Daily life is resistant to the idea of grace. We work our hands down to the bone trying to make the boss happy or the spouse or God. 

Grace not opposed to effort; but opposed to earning.  It’s a gift from a different realm and world. A God word, a Bible word.

Grace is about love and gifts and celebration because I’m not what I want to be… and the world is not in good shape and we need hope in the darkness. 

Grace is poured out on the cross in bloodied sides, head, and the face of Jesus. It’s celebrated today with a simple cup of wine and loaf of bread. 

In stretched out hands, and newly resurrected body, the incarnate God of heaven, the Messiah-stooped-low and gave his all… the work shouts: all grace. 

Accept it, receive it, rest, stop trying to ask how much it cost because that’s not how gifts work. 

Enjoy and receive in faith and we can talk about the rest later. 

Grace, grace, oh what a beautiful word and reality. Thank you Frederick Buechner for penning such a beautiful paragraph and reminded me of the grace of God today… it never gets old…