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  • Writer's picturePastor Paul Harris

Unrelenting Grace

In September, our preaching focus comes from Kenneth H. Carter, Jr. and his book "Unrelenting Grace." It is a read worth your while as a primer or as a reminder to the importance of grace in our heritage as United Methodists. This Sunday we begin with prevenient grace and the story of the Waiting Father found in Luke 15:20-24. The abundance of God's grace is on full display in this story, a story among several other stories from Jesus, about how lost things and lost persons are found in the grace of a waiting father.

Ken Carter says this about our United Methodist way of life: "It involves our response to the grace of God, in ourselves and others. It includes searching the scriptures and singing about the amazing love of God, so free, so infinite its grace. It insists on our need for connection and social holiness. I can't be holy on my own; I can't be holy without you; you can't be holy without me."

We invite you into a culture of connection at Manchaca United Methodist Church in which we strive to offer Christ to all, join with one another in the love of God and neighbor, and stay rooted in the scriptures which center us with Christ. Whether it's your first or your umpteenth Sunday with us for Holy Communion, you are welcome at the Table of the Lord. Come and join us!

One of the songs I remember singing about grace and the Lord's Table is shown below with some additional information regarding its author and purpose.

Be present at our table, Lord; be here and everywhere adored; thy creatures bless, and grant that we may feast in paradise with thee. —John Cennick, 1741

Excerpt from History of Hymns

By Raquel Godinez and C. Michael Hawn

What is the Methodist connection with these words? Indeed, this text (or some adaptation thereof) is often referred to as the “Wesleyan Blessing,” and it is sung regularly in Methodist congregations before fellowship meals. The Methodist Hymnal (1935) was the first to include this stanza and one other table blessing by Cennick in Methodist collections in the United States under the title “The Wesley Graces” (McCutchen, 533). One of the interesting sources for Cennick’s text, and the best source for its connection with Methodism, is a teapot. John Wesley (1703-1791) was a lover of tea. On display at the Museum of Methodism, City Road Chapel (Wesley’s Chapel), is a teapot created by Josiah Wedgewood (1730-1795), royal potter, who presented the teapot to John Wesley in 1761, an item of tea service he used for 30 years.

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