Words of Grace on Holy Thursday

Because I’ve been busy over the last several weeks working on other projects (a print newsletter, The C.S. Lewis Retreat at Camp Allen, C.S. Lewis College, The Scholars In Residence Program, among others), I put our Word of Grace posts from Kent Hansen on hiatus. Starting next week, I’ll be posting them again weekly. Here are the last few for you to enjoy during this holy week.


A Word of Grace – 4/2/12

But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. So Pilate decided to grant their demand.  He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will (Luke 23:23-25, NIV).,

Let’s talk about the insistent demands in your life. Who makes those demands? Who is wishing that you would give up Jesus to do what they want? I am just saying . . . .

I walk into the house at the end of a long day and pull my cell phone from my belt and lay it on the desk and do the same with my pager. Then I open up my lap-top computer and read and respond to the emails that have accumulated over the course of the day. There are insistent voices and they are shouting loudly to be heard.

Do they prevail?

I glance over at my closed Bible, remember that breakfast was eaten on the run but time taken for reflection and prayer was non-existent, recollect the hardness in my heart and the knife-edge to my voice when I demanded of some poor soul who failed to meet expectations, “Do you not know that I have power . . . ?” (John 19:10). Read More>>>>>

A Word of Grace – 3/26/12

I thought all week about the message, read Scripture, and made notes.

By Friday, several people dear to me were in pain and distress from varied causes. It occurred to me that an older story would be of encouragement.

This story has been published in several magazines and is retold in my second book. From out of my backyard, it speaks the universal and timeless truth of the Gospel — that Jesus knows our troubles and sorrows and reaches out with a firm but tender touch to heal and forgive. May it bless you with his love.


My son, Andrew, and I planted a garden together when he was 4. He was growing up in a Southern California city, unlike my rural upbringing in the hills of coastal central California.

I wanted to teach Andrew the secrets of growing things. His grandpa and I built a 2′ x 4′ x 8′ box. I filled it with $70 worth of compost, soil amendment, topsoil, sand and steer manure–a suburban lawyer’s and Home Depot’s idea of “bottomland.”  Read More>>>>>

A Word of Grace – 3/19/12

In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to me, 
   “Flee like a bird to the mountains; 
for look, the wicked bend the bow, 
   they have fitted their arrow to the string, 
   to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart. 
If the foundations are destroyed, 
   what can the righteous do?”
— Psalm 11:1-3

The third verse of this passage is often quoted in the culture wars. “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” is solemnly intoned about threatened changes in politics, morality, worship, doctrine, family values etc.

The point is that the collapse of the moral order threatens the stability of the physical order. This is a legitimate concern, but political attempts to resolve it throughout history have inevitably mucked things up. Policy rooted in fear is never kind to freedom even if Scripture is expropriated as a justification. Read More>>>>>

A Word of Grace – 3/12/12

If all musical instruments sounded alike, how would you know the difference between a flute and a harp? If a bugle call isn’t clear, how would you know how to get ready for battle? (1 Cor 14:7-8).

It seemed like a good idea when I started out — my destination was clearly in mind and the brisk walk there and back through downtown Washington, DC would cleanse me of the fuzzy residue from my “red-eye” arrival.

Seven blocks into my journey, I was frozen to the bone and kind of lost. Well . . . really lost, because lost is one of those things that you either are or you aren’t.

It was 80 degree weather when I left California. I checked the weather, but the reports hadn’t counted for a late winter storm blowing in and dropping the temperature into the 30s with a windchill.

Neither had I figured that the circle rotaries on the DC thoroughfares would be so disorienting to an inexperienced pedestrian.

A cell phone call for directions to my assistant back in California yielded only that she was on break. On I strode.

Something familiar to my ear rose over the wind and the traffic. It was the sweet sound of “Amazing Grace,” played on a trumpet with a rich tone and fluid technique that identified the soloist as a professional. Read More>>>>>