Here’s a meditation for the week: Why would this man of God greet everyone in this manner? What is so important about grace and peace that Paul feels the need to speak the words immediately? A simple blog post will not do--who could exhaust the possibilities of these two words? Neither will theological definitions do--the academy has been lulled into the trap of believing that if we can define a word we somehow possess the quality.
Perhaps we could start here: Paul greeted everyone with “grace and peace” because he understood our on-going need for both of them. He was writing to believers, yet he wished for them more grace and more peace.
How many of us have made the mistake of thinking God’s grace operates only at the new birth? Part of the good news is there is more grace, grace for today, and grace for tomorrow. Grace for more than forgiveness--God wants to provide grace in the everyday, grace for growth, and grace to sustain. Have I asked for grace beyond forgiveness?
God’s peace is also our constant need. The resurrected Jesus greeted his friends with the word “Peace.” Peace is the first message of the risen Lord. Paul, a Jewish rabbi, understood “peace” to represent the well-being that comes from God, the wholeness that flows from a relationship with the author of life. How many of us--even if we have walked with God for decades--need more of the Shalom of God?
Finally, grace and peace represent more than our need. They are the need of everyone we meet. Do we wish grace and peace on others? Do we have it to give?
This week, my friends, here is my blessing: grace to you, and peace.