The park I frequented for running was riddled with activity.
I sat down, dead center on a bench full of graffiti and began to note all the sounds, activities and people who collectively make up the park habitat.
A chorus of sounds emitted from all areas of the park as I painted an internal picture with my eyes closed and ears wide open.
Side bar: I wondered what it would be like if God had created us with ear-lids as well as eyelids? I would sleep much better at men’s retreats, but wouldn’t hear the dog barking in the middle of the night to go out.
On the south end of the park, a football field was filled with high school football players banging pads and grunting audibly while the coach barked reprimands attached to last names.
Simultaneously, a distraught woman was walking along the sidewalk next to the football field yelling loud, non-cohesive words and sentences. She flung her arms about and ranted non-stop. She was saying nothing to anyone and everyone. The football players would stop after hitting each other and stare at her with curiosity, and then continue to run the next play while grunting words less distinguishable than the mad woman. Cars where noisily rushing by her yet she could be heard above an accelerating diesel pickup truck belching a cloud of black smoke.
She cussed loudly and spit. The football players cussed loudly and spit. The coach cussed loudly and spit. The coach’s six-year old son cussed quietly and spit. I just spit.
It was a nice warm day in the city park.
To the immediate north, tennis players where volleying back and forth. They spoke of love, love; love -15. Nothing profane was served up instead they offered up encouragement, “great lob, good volley, your shoe lace is untied.” There wasn’t any brutal contact except whacking the fuzzy neon ball off a tightly wound mesh of catgut. Catgut? Where’s the humanity? Why isn’t PETA protesting at every single tennis court in America. Aren’t domestic cats on the endangered species list?
Andy Roddick could take out a large mule deer at 100 yards with his tennis serve.
It was a sunny day with clear blue skies in the city park.
Beyond the tennis courts there is a folf course that winds through the park. There were many gnarly dudes, and the woman who love them, playing with different weight discs to approximate its golf equivalent. The dudes were sporting their own folf etiquette, including: Cigarettes, worn-out canvas shoes and tattoos of dragons from ear lobe to thumb. A tattoo of Jack Nicklaus was not to be found. And so it goes, and so it goes.
Kids were swimming, adults were laughing and teens were giggling while texting. All enjoying God’s creation: A perfect green park, a piece of earth set aside in the middle of suburbia for all to enjoy. Green grass, trees and a brook bordered by two-lane tarmac.
A common place for multiple activities enjoyed by all and created by an un-common God.
Common grace is what all people experience as a gift of a living, loving God. He allows the rain and sun to fall on the righteous and the unrighteous. We all love, smell, see, taste, laugh, and bask in the warm sun together. A common enjoyment of the senses provided by a not-so-common Creator. “For God so loved the world…” John 3:16.
Specific, or saving grace is the second part of that scripture: “that he gave His one and only son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Jesus is that specific grace that we are saved by. This is eternal, unmerited, and most favorable. An eternal park awaits those that believe in him. As we believe, we move from common to specific saving grace. Totally accepted by God where He can enjoy us, and us Him. All of this is only possible thru His son Jesus Christ.
It’s a warm, sunny day in God’s creation and we are right-as-rain in His good graces.