Have you heard the news?? After nearly two years of scheming, thinking, devoting, and writing, Daily Grace: The Mockingbird Devotional, Vol. 2 is at last available. This book features 365 entries written by more than sixty different contributors — and a whole lot of grace. You can purchase Daily Grace through our online store and Amazon. Below, find the book’s Introduction.

Fifty-two years old, and he was dying. Afflicted by a brutal case of COVID-19, Jason Denney lay alone in a hospital room in Orlando, Florida, struggling to breathe. It was March, 2020, and widespread fear of contagion prevented his family from sitting at his bedside. Through FaceTime, he had already said goodbye to them. A priest had administered his last rites. This was it—not only was Denney’s life ending, but so, too, it seemed, was the world.

Then the door opened. A woman, Rosaura Quinteros, entered the room. She had visited before, every morning for six days. Originally from Guatemala, she now worked in the hospital as a housekeeper—a line of work often considered “invisible.” Her job was to mop the floors, pull trash, and disinfect surfaces. As she worked, she and Denney made small talk, first chatting about the weather, then discussing more meaningful topics: their children, their faith. He confessed that he had likely infected his 16-year-old son, and on top of his physical suffering, he was also afflicted by guilt.

Even so, Quinteros assured him that all would be well. She promised that both God and the doctors were caring for him. Most importantly, as Denney reported to CNN’s Daniel Burke, “She was not scared to be close to me.”

And slowly, he began to recover. Quinteros’ very presence offered relief, took his mind off his suffering, and brought him hope. English was not her first language, but “When a patient is treated with compassion and love,” she said, “language is not a barrier.”

Denney’s suffering was acute and, in many ways, unique. Even so, all of us can relate to some part of this story. Whether we’ve experienced a suffocating pain, loneliness, or guilt, we have all found ourselves in a place we never thought we’d be. We do not need to be living through a pandemic to feel as if we’re in the midst of the apocalypse. Today’s headlines—any day’s headlines—certainly stoke a state of panic. Life is hard, you may have noticed.

But maybe, unlike Denney, you suffer from a sickness of your own making. Maybe you can’t stop blurting out careless remarks in front of your in-laws. Or maybe you’re taken aback by how quickly your convictions go out the window when money is on the table. Maybe you’ve gotten into trouble and stiff-armed help when it’s come your way. It may seem that your illness is not a virus but your very self. Know, then, that you’re not alone—far from it! Actually, the company is good. As St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (7:24).

We search for deliverance everywhere: in relationships, in work, in the escapism of a good book or TV show. We may find ourselves scanning the Self-Help section at the bookstore where we can find tips for getting healthy and tricks for cultivating purpose, meaning, or passion. But unfortunately these listicles so often amount to mere demands—advice and endless suggestions that are powerless to bring about the help we need. It’s a lot like the classic New Yorker cartoon that takes place on a crowded beach: Just off the shore, sharks encircle a flailing swimmer while a lifeguard looks on disinterestedly. The caption reads, “Visualize yourself not dying, and then be that reality.”

But as the 1928 Book of Common Prayer boldly put it, “We have no power in ourselves to help ourselves.” If you have ever felt like that flailing swimmer—or if you currently feel like that flailing swimmer—then this devotional is for you.

Our prayer is that you will be able to open Daily Grace, to any page, and find relief. That you’ll find real hope in something beyond yourself. That you’ll be reminded of news so good, in fact, that you might be suspicious it’s too good. But what we’ve put together is not a fine fancy. Theologically speaking, it’s robust and carefully considered. With contributions from over sixty writers, this devotional represents a diversity of experiences and voices: women and men, young and old, from a variety of denominations. We have students, parents, teachers, writers, and pastors who have spent lifetimes ministering to people across demographics.

What do we all have in common? A belief in the surpassing grace of God—and the forgetfulness of human beings. We believe that the gospel often goes in one ear and out the other, and that we need to be reminded of it constantly. Which is why our organization is, after all, called Mockingbird. We sing the same gospel song repeatedly, whether through online essays, podcasts, conferences, or books like the very one in your hands. As is typical, Daily Grace (like daily grace!) makes no demands; you do not need to read this book every day. But you can if you want to.

The entries have been arranged in a vaguely seasonal order. Easter-related devotions can be found in the spring, Christmas in December. We have also provided a thematic index, which can be found at the end of the book. Consider this a resource for when you want to read about a specific element of spiritual life—ranging from “faith” to “doubt,” and everything in between. There is a scriptural index, too, if you are looking for commentary on a specific passage.

Our team liked the idea that even in its earliest phases, this project would be led by the Holy Spirit, so we forewent any major design plan; for most entries, the writers selected whichever verses they were most drawn to. Amazingly, what came back to us was a wide range of beautiful, grace-filled, and occasionally obscure scriptures, along with heartfelt, colorful commentary.

Now we pray that you, too, will be led by the Spirit as you proceed. We pray that through the words printed here, the grace of God will make itself known to you in a fresh way. We pray that you will encounter God—our invisible caregiver—who is “not afraid to be near us.” Who is with us, and loves us, and has mercy on us. Even now.

— The Editors
Charlottesville, VA, 2020

Get your copy of Daily Grace today!