With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
-       Micah 6:6-8
I used to worry that I wasn’t doing enough to please God. Do I attend church often enough? Do I give freely of my time? What about caring for the environment or the poor? What have I done for them lately?
One day it dawned on me that my incessant worrying was, in fact, interfering with my relationship with God. I came to understand that this personal epiphany was a gift and it had a name – Grace. And it is through the Grace of God that I have been freed from the burden of pleasing God through earthly endeavors. All that God wants from me is to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him.
For the last few years I’ve been conducting a little experiment. Whenever I pass a person on the street, in a supermarket, in a park – anywhere - I smile at them. Nothing big, just a simple smile and, if I’m really feeling it, I say hello. And what I’ve found is, invariably, that person will smile back. It’s almost automatic. Humans seem to have something deep within them that returns kindness with kindness, even if that kindness is no more than a personal acknowledgement that they exist and are worthy of recognition. 
And so, as I walk through life with a humility only possible through the Grace of God, I smile.
And people smile back.
Lord we receive your gift of Grace every day with gratitude and humility.
Through your Grace alone we find courage to speak out for a just society, compassion to offer mercy to everyone we encounter,
and peace to walk through life at your side.