UPON

Today’s lectionary reading included one of my favorite phrases: “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” The slightly antique preposition, “upon” offers its own particular vision of abundance. Where “grace after grace” might be a more familiar idiom, and testifies to the steady stream of forgiveness, opportunity, and gift that keep coming from the hand of God, it doesn’t quite get at what we hear in “upon.”
One grace upon another; it’s not a stream, but a tree with new rings or a rising pile of shining stones or the layers of story in a palimpsest. The old graces remain and become frames and foundations for the new ones, renewed by every occasion when we are, once again, surprised by joy.
Easter is a good day to hear that phrase again. God’s gifts came and then came again and keep coming—risen and rising and shining in “every riven thing.”

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