Have you got 20 minutes?

I am often a weekly visitor to the car park at Buchanan Galleries as part of the franchise known by parents as dad’s or mum’s taxi! I am seldom in the car park for more than 20 minutes whilst I collect one of my children. The other night when I went to pay my customary £1.50 (the fee for after 6pm parking), the machine was out of commission. I approached the booth and the attendant upon taking my £10 for my ticket and upon inspecting the time stamped ticket, declared that I didn’t need to pay, “as I was just in and I had a 20 minute period of grace.” I duly departed with a smile on my face and £10 in my pocket.

But then the financier in me began to work overtime – did that mean if I hadn’t paid at the machine in the past, I could have saved…. wait a minute….how much? Could I do that in future, but what if I overran my period of grace! Was that the price of grace – £1.50?

Then the theologian in me kicked in, and I was taken back to something a colleague shared with me just before Easter. On a course the tutor asked us all to tell of an occasion we had been in a difficult situation, and to tell the group of the wise counsel that had aided us. That could have been a passage of scripture, a Biblical figure, a fellow Christian, a relative, a friend, or even a stranger in a fluorescent yellow jacket. My colleague spoke of a former professor of psychology who had greatly influenced him.

Afterwards he directed me to materials she has on-line. But that was before Easter and I forgot all about it.

However when I got home from being dad the taxi driver, I recalled what my colleague had said and googled the professor’s reflection on grace. She explains grace as something unexpected, at times without reason. That is what Jesus death and resurrection at Easter were about. We had sinned, and a price had to be paid. And that price was paid for us by God’s willingness to allow His own Son to die for us. We did not deserve it or expect such a sacrifice, yet God’s grace was freely given in love. Now that grace is worth a whole lot more to me than the £1.50 I saved one Monday night, or the many pounds I could have saved over the last year! Amazing grace. Thank God for that.