grace and mercy are undeserved, you are not being merciful letting someone off if they are innocent you are being just, if you forgive/ let poff the guilty that is showing grace/ mercy
I heard this story, to illustrate, teacher sets homework and says if it is late you will get zero, first week a few people are late but teacher shows compassion and accepts essays to mark, with a lecture not to let it happen again
next week same happens and just two hand things in late ( one of whom had done so previous week too), teacher gives them both zero, one starts to complain it is not fair, teacher says why? did you really want me to be fair, of course says the pupil I want you to be fair, at which point teacher changes mark of previous week to zero too, to howls of protest the teacher explains you did not want fairness at all you wanted and needed mercy
You could always start with brainstorming what the group thinks it is, then add the definitions given here if they've been missed. Bit boring, but a good method as you start off knowing where people are and get different misconceptions insights.
Thank you all! I'm fine with the talk overall and it's a lovely interactive group of about 25, so not too big, I just couldn't quite explain what this free gidt from God called grace tangibly is! Still not easy but thank you HolofernesesHead - I think the story of Zacchaeus illustrates God's grace really well and will use it as an example.
I once heard a sermon with the rather neat theme that mercy is not getting what you do deserve (ie punishment) and grace is getting what you don't deserve. It's always stuck with me as a good way to define grace, which isn't an easy concept.
I'm giving a talk at church tonight about sacraments. It's meant as an introduction to the topic before we look at them individually after Christmas.
Most definitions of the term sacrament talk about how a sacrament is a channel of God's grace. How would you define grace in this context? I can't seem to find a definition that fits it. To say God's love or God's power doesn't quite seem enough. Any ideas?