I have heard (and read) that "Mercy is when you don't get what you deserve. Grace is when you get what you don't deserve." Even this logical twist of words makes the term Grace difficult to understand completely. Theologians have wrestled with the meaning of Grace (and the issue of "Works" also).
On Sunday we had a guest pastor speak (Rev. Stearns) who described John Wesley's (and Methodism) three types of Grace - Prevenient Grace, Justifying Grace, and Sanctifying Grace.
Prevenient Grace is "...the divine love that surrounds all humanity and precedes any and all of our conscious impulses." Rev. Stearns simplified this with his childhood memory of looking a the picture of Jesus attentively knocking at our door awaiting our response. I remembered a similar picture from the book I read in 2009 "Ten Prayers God always says Yes to" by Antony DeStefano - The Light of the World (By William Homan Hunt). A copy now hangs in Susan's office - the Christmas gift of 2009.
The door has no knob and can be opened only by the person inside. There stands Christ knocking (Rev. 3:20) holding the light of the world (John 8:12).
I said, I would bet my mortgage that the picture Rev. Stearns referred was this same picture. I asked the family if Rev. Stearns had shown the picture on the big screen in the Contemporary Service and if it was the Hunt picture above. He had --- it wasn't.
I guess I now need Mercy :)