Unforced Rhythms of Grace

by | Jun 15, 2024 | Seeds eNewsletter

Photo, Good News Associates and Board on retreat, left to right: Jan Wood, Christine Hall, Emily Provance, Marge Abbott, Noah Merrill, Lorraine Watson, Rosemary Zimmermann , Becky Wood, Jonathan Vogel-Borne


Are you tired?
Worn out?
Burned out on religion?
Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.
I’ll show you how to take a real rest.
Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.
Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
—Matthew 11:28-30 The Message


LAST WEEK, THE BOARD AND ASSOCIATES OF GOOD NEWS ASSOCIATES GATHERED at Tilikum Retreat Center outside Newberg, Oregon for our annual Board meeting. What we experienced together were the amazing, refreshing, unforced rhythms of grace. We were embraced by the Spirit-saturated beauty and hospitality of Tilikum. In each morning worship, nuggets of pure gold rose from quiet, waiting prayer. Our discussions and discernments had more of a spirit of discovery than of problem solving. Our care and love for one another became tangible and precious.

We gathered knowing that we had some weighty decisions before us. None of us had quick and easy answers to offer the group. There were no agendas—personal or corporate—to push upon each other. We all had some apprehension if and how it could work out. What we did know was that God moves among us and things unfold. We are not the initiators of faithful action; we are responders to the whispers of the God who loves us. And unfold it did! Sweet answers. Joyful ways forward. Abundant gratefulness to the God who calls us to walk and work alongside.


Three Nuggets

There seemed to be three nuggets that rose in our worship together and guided us. In each case someone shared how the Spirit had “spoken” to them in specific situations. What rich sharing that was! During our days together, these reflections gave us the tools we needed to do our work.

The first nugget suggested: When faced with anxiety—rather than trying to push through it or live over it—just step back. Release our concern about it. Let the insufficiency be. And in that release, the unforced rhythms of grace will flow.

The second nugget prompted: When we are overwhelmed, exhausted, and depleted of all our good ways of fixing things, just stand up. Rise from our crumpled state, inwardly and outwardly. Rise from our pessimisms, judgments, blamings, victimizations, and pity parties. Just stand in the authenticity of the present moment. And what we need will come. The spaciousness and possibilities of grace will expand.

The third nugget invited us to step into the power that Spirit has given us. It is full throated “yes-ness” to the Light, the Good, the Holy. It is also the clarity and boldness to say our “no’s” to unholy energy that spins like tornadoes through our inner lives, our relationships, our work places, our churches and Meetings, and our nation—crippling good people and thwarting the power and wonder of grace-filled transformations.

As I am reflecting and letting this experience work its good work in me, it has become image of dance steps:

Step back from our strivings.
Simply stand in our authentic present condition.
Step forward into the clarity and power of the Spirit.
And feel the joy of the unforced rhythms of grace move among us.

We thank you all for being part of the Good News Associates community. May the unforced rhythms of grace thrill you as much as they did us last week.


Becky enjoying the enjoying 900px