Tag Archives: Saving Grace

Angels

“You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.”
Acts 12:15 (NIV)

Just over a decade ago there was an original series that premiered on the TNT network. It was called Saving Grace. Wendy and I absolutely loved it. The show centered around a very hard, broken, and flawed police detective named Grace who was expertly played by Holly Hunter. Grace’s life was all sorts of messed up, and in the opening episode we find her on the verge of suicide. That’s when Earl shows up. The scraggly, dumpy-looking Earl is actually an angel sent to help save Grace from herself, hence the title of the show. The show ran for four seasons.

Across the Great Story there are numerous times that angels enter the narrative. Certainly in the life of Jesus and throughout the book of Acts angels play an active role, as in today’s chapter. Dr. Luke describes Peter’s imprisonment by Herod and his being shackled continually between four armed guards. In the middle of the night an angel arrives to arrange for Peter’s “Great Escape.” Peter is rescued and returns to where the fellow believers are staying.

I love that Luke adds the detail about a servant girl named Rhoda who comes to the door when Peter arrives and knocks. The servant girl is so excited to see Peter that she runs to tell the household forgetting to actually unlock the door and let Peter inside. Upon telling the believers that Peter is outside at the door, they insist she is out of her mind, saying “It must be his angel.”

The Greek word Luke used in describing the event was atou which is correctly translated as a personal, possessive pronoun. It is clear that the believers understood that Peter had a personal angel assigned to him, and this verse is among the passages that have led to the popular belief that each of us has a “guardian angel.” (Matt 8:10 and Heb 1:14 are two others).

For the record, I do believe in angels even though I don’t have a great story like Peter’s (which I’m okay with, btw). I find it interesting that Hollywood regularly uses the humorous device of choosing a very  unangelic presence when depicting angels. I think both of the scraggly Earl in Saving Grace and the elderly, diminutive Clarence in It’s a Wonderful Life.

This morning in the quiet I’m thinking about angels. When writing about “fallen angels,” otherwise known as demons, C.S. Lewis wisely wrote that we can make one of two foolish mistakes. One is to waste time thinking too much about them. The second, Lewis said, is to be dismissive of them altogether. I’ve always agreed with Lewis on this, and so I don’t think too much about angels and demons except when I encounter a chapter like today’s. So, this morning I’m allowing myself some creative fun with the notion that every one does have a guardian angel and how my angel might be personified.

I think his name is probably Walter.

By the way, Saving Grace is available to rent through Amazon Prime.

Have a great day, everyone.

photo: by Frank Okenfels; Leon Rippy as Earl

Chapter-a-Day Isaiah 54

Guilty as charged. Any accuser who takes you to court will be dismissed as a liar. Isaiah 54:17b (MSG)

Wendy and I had a quiet evening last night. As we puttered at mindless tasks we got caught up on a few of our favorite television shows which we had recorded. We watched Saving Grace, a show about a flawed and broken cop who is visited by her "last chance angel," Earl (Warning: this show is for mature audiences only; it reveals Grace's sin in graphic and uncensored manner).

In the episode we watched last night, Grace dreams (is it a dream?) and finds herself in a courtroom. She discovers that she is the one on trial. She is accused by the prosecution of her promiscuous, violent, drunken behavior. Friends and family are called to the stand to testify about their experiences with Grace.

As I watched. I put myself in Grace's shoes. How scary to think of standing in a courtroom with my friends, family and enemies lining up to testify to all the stupid, hurtful, sinful, disobedient things I've done. Believe me, the Accuser has no problem making a strong case against me.

Then I thought of yesterday's chapter and was reminded why Jesus came. That's why Jesus gave himself up to be beaten and bloodied. That's why Jesus died. He paid the penalty for all of my wrong doing. When the Accuser lays out the charges against me (they are many, and I am guilty) the Judge sees that the penalty has already been paid. THAT is "saving grace."

He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many,
   he took up the cause of all the black sheep.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and ixquick