Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” vs. 31 Corinthians 1:3-6
Paul began his letters to the congregations by wishing them God’s grace and peace and his words have found their way into worship liturgies as an ultra-familiar part of the ritual. Preachers frequently begin their sermons in the same way, almost as a signal to folks in the pews to settle down and start listening because the homily is about to begin. Since the greeting is so familiar it’s easy to miss its significance. In reality these two words, grace and peace, express the summation of all that God gives us in this good and broken world. Grace is such an expansive word that it’s hard to easily define. Put simply it is the free, rich, and powerful gift that God has so generously given to the world through the Lord Jesus Christ. It includes forgiveness, restoration, and new life, and is ours purely because God is good. Because of its cleansing power it is regularly paired with peace in Paul’s writings. Peace is what the human spirit craves beyond all other things, it’s a serenity that comes when we stop struggling to be what we are not. Often described as rest it’s the best way of describing our future life in Christ–one day all will rest in peace, as the riches of God’s grace are realized in full. What a blessing it is to hear these words so regularly in our worship and to then receive them into our hearts!
Thought for the Day: What keeps me from feeling at peace?