Leon Redbone makes me smile

We were driving home from Illinois Saturday night. It had been a long couple of days. Good, but emotionally draining and long.

Prairie Home Companion came on the radio. If you know it, you know it. If you don’t, I can’t explain it, other than it’s a two hour program performed in front of an auditorium-size live audience. The episode Saturday night was a “best of” kind of program, lots of music from shows performed in New York.

One of the performers was Leon Redbone. Just hearing that made me start to smile. And when he started singing, I grinned.

I’m not going to bother explaining why. I don’t own any of his music. I’ve never seen him in concert. I haven’t heard a song by Leon in years.

But I grinned. Mostly because I needed to grin. Mostly because his odd style, always done well, feels like grace to me whenever I happen to hear him.

We want grace to make sense, to be predictable, to come when we want it. We want to expect it. But that’s not how grace, God’s grace anyway, works.

Sometime in my past, mercy was defined for me as “not getting the penalty you deserve.” In contrast, grace is getting the hope what you don’t deserve. Condemned prisoners plead for mercy. Hopeless people in the middle of despair are offered grace. People who cannot figure out how to survive the next day of just living have moments when it is clear that God is aware. That God is listening.

But asking for grace to live isn’t like dropping prayer quarters in a divine jukebox and punching G-777 “Amazing Grace.”  It’s more like letting God know that you are in need.

And sometimes, we hear Leon Redbone on a Saturday night on the radio.

2 thoughts on “Leon Redbone makes me smile

  1. Mimi Meredith

    I love both Leon Redbone and Garrison Keillor!

    I am in awe of the way God nudges me through your posts. Right now, I just desperately need evidence that he is actively listening. I don’t mind being tested so much. I just wish life’s tests were like others for which you can study and prepare, thus having some indication of how you might fare. I guess I’ll just have to remember that Grace…maybe even mercy…will lift me up even if I fail.


  2. paulmerrill

    I love it when God reveals Himself in unexpected ways.

    Last Friday morning, He showed me His amazing creative power through a beautiful light fog rising from a river. (I did a pre-work bicycle ride.)


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