Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Little Sunshine, A Lot of Grace

So I spent all day yesterday listing coins on eBay. It was fun. I learned a lot. Thank goodness for While I listed coins, I listened to music. Once I'd exhausted my normal listening repertoire, I opted for the Weird Al spoof of Disney's Peter and the Wolf.

Jonathan happened in, so I started it over for him. He bawled his eyes out when Bruce the Duck got eaten by the wolf. So I scrambled around until I found Jonathan's CD case, which contains the "real" version (complete with Disney's Sterling Holloway) of Peter and the Wolf. We listened to it so we could hear what really happened to the duck. Disney was wise enough to spare the duck's life, and I'm very thankful. Once Jonathan discovered the duck had "really" watched all the drama from the safety of a hollow tree, all was right with the world.

Jonathan went on his merry way, and I was left holding his CD case, which contains CD recordings of all the old records I used to listen to as a kid. So I popped one in and went back to listing coins. I enjoyed Johnny Appleseed, Kiddie Folk Songs ("When I first came to this land, I was not a wealthy man...") and The Sorcerer's Apprentice.

Eventually, I came upon Little Marcy. Anyone out there remember Little Marcy? We had two of her records. Walking in the Sunshine with Little Marcy, and The Happy Day Express. In a jovial mood, I embarked upon the walk down memory lane that is Little Marcy.

But the very first song found me muttering cranky cynicisms right off the bat. My mood began to darken as I huffed and puffed in indignation. And what horrific, brainwashing lyrics spawned this growly Becky?

I'll tell you.

Little Marcy: Put a little sunshine in your smile today.

Becky: You've got to be kidding me.

Little Marcy: Spread a little sunshine in a Christian way.

Becky: Wow. Talk about laying on the pressure.

Little Marcy: Ask the Lord to help you when the skies are gray.

Becky: Hmph. Can I pray in rhyme?

Little Marcy: Put a little sunshine in your smile.

I zoned out on the chorus, intent on determining just what country's coinage sported the name "Confoederatio Helvetica". (It's Switzerland, by the way.)

But I couldn't help being distracted by the even more appalling second verse, which cut through my concentration like a sharp knife.

Little Marcy: In a Christian's life a frown is out of place.

Becky: What? I can't believe they would tell little kids that.

Little Marcy: You can never witness with a long, sad face.

Becky: That's not even true! And how do they expect me to never be sad or frowny just because I'm a Christian? That's so unrealistic! Besides, even if it were the right thing to do, it's totally impossible! Who could ever measure up to such a standard? No one can reflect the joy of the Lord all the time! We're *all* failures!

But as if Little Marcy had actually been listening in on my personal tirade, her next lyric brought me to my knees. She said:

Lift your eyes to heaven and accept His grace.

Understanding flooded through me.

Ohhhhhh... His grace...

Oh, you mean the grace that causes a perfect, sinless God to look at flawed, sinful Becky and see purity? Is that the grace we're talking about?

The grace that enables grungy me to boldly approach the pristine throne of Almighty God and rest my raggedy head upon His steady breast?

The grace that enfolds me in the overwhelming and inscrutable love of a Being so vast and limitless that my finite self must be hidden from the brilliance of His glory?

The grace that picks me up time after fallen time and immerses me yet again in its power, reminding me that I am white as snow?

The grace that was given freely to me? That I did not merit? That I do not deserve? That I can never repay? That gives my life meaning? That I would die without?

The grace that was made possible because Jesus Christ willingly took my sin on Himself and strode forward in the ultimate expression of fierce, unfathomable love to die in my place?

That grace?

Is that the grace I'm to turn my eyes to heaven and accept?

And is that the grace that will enable me to put a little sunshine in my smile?

The second time through, you bet I listened to the chorus, and I found my answer:

God's sunshine.
Heavenly sunshine.
It's the only light that makes our life worthwhile.

You see, it's not *my* sunshine I'm putting in my smile today. It's the sunshine that is a reflection of God's grace in my life.

And where do I go to find the source of that reflection?

I turn my eyes to heaven and find, waiting for me, bathed in grace, the only Light that makes my life worthwhile. And then, and *only* then, I am able, no matter what gray skies surround me, to have a little of God's sunshine in my smile.

Oh, soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There's light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.