Pastor Larson’s Corner: Unexpected graciousness

Photo courtesy of Jerry Larson Pastor Larson is currently enjoying a well-deserved vacation in Hawai’i, where, as he told us, “all the hula dancers wanted to have their pictures taken with me after the luau.” Have fun, Jerry. We all wish we were there, but we are experiencing the unexpected graciousness of continuing to print the Norwegian American Weekly.

Photo courtesy of Jerry Larson
Pastor Larson is currently enjoying a well-deserved vacation in Hawai’i, where, as he told us, “all the hula dancers wanted to have their pictures taken with me after the luau.” Have fun, Jerry. We all wish we were there, but we are experiencing the unexpected graciousness of continuing to print the Norwegian American Weekly.

Several years ago I took a group of youth on a mission trip to St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. We were there to help rebuild a church that had been severely damaged in a hurricane. We rented a van, and I became the designated driver. I did OK until our last night on the island when I forgot that the traffic drives on the left hand side of the road in St. Thomas. I pulled out in front of oncoming traffic and couldn’t avoid an accident. The crash was all my fault, and it was obvious to everyone, including the police, who came to deal with the situation.

As I was sitting in the squad car giving the police my identification and answering questions about the accident, the officer could tell I was pretty shook up. After awhile he turned to me and said, “Please don’t let this accident spoil your trip to St. Thomas, Mr. Larson. No one has been injured. You need only go to city hall in the morning and pay a $25 fine for causing the accident. None of this will go on your record. Please come back to St. Thomas and see us again sometime.”

It was as if a huge balloon of tension in my body burst and a giant wave of relief and even joy came over me. The graciousness of the St. Thomas police amazed me. They could see how miserable and nervous I was and showered me with unexpected grace. Whenever I think about times like this when I have experienced unexpected graciousness, I think about the grace of God.

Unexpected and undeserved grace always brings joy into my heart. Imagine how much joy we would all feel if we could truly comprehend the breadth and depth of God’s undeserved and unexpected love and Grace for us.

Pastor Larson’s Corner is written by Jerry Larson and appears weekly in the Norwegian American Weekly.

Pastor Jerry Larson retired to his cabin in Zimmerman, Minn., after 39 years in parish ministry for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In 2011 he published a book entitled “Speaking the Word Freely: Writing with purpose, preaching with power.” Contact him at jerlarson@visi.com

This article was originally published in the February 17, 2012, issue of NAW. It also appeared in the Feb. 20, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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