Grace and Peace
I think about all the letters I’ve received and sent in active litigation. Govern yourself accordingly, that was a frequent offender. You have thirty days from the date of this letter or we will avail ourselves of all available remedies at law and equity, and don’t forget… including attorney’s fees.
Not much grace and not much peace.
Some attorneys had a reputation for sending especially virulent letters, threatening all kinds of unpleasant things. They’d be so nice when you saw them in public. How are you? How’s your family?
I’ve been reading the way in which New Testament letters often begin, and they offer quite a stark contrast to the warlike letters of litigation. Almost all of them contain some variation of Paul’s formula Grace to you and peace…
No matter what news or dispute or difficulty Paul was addressing in his epistles, he always began with words of grace and peace. He was likely in a foul mood when he wrote the missive known as Galatians, launching into an excoriating diatribe. But before he got to the rant, he manages to tell them grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Many forget that Revelation contains a letter, a mystical epistle of sorts, about the disclosure of God to John. I have let the powerful language of Revelation 1:4-8 steep in my soul this week as I prepare for Sunday. It contains this irenic introduction: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come. All dimensions of time and space are invaded by these two holy realities: grace and peace… from the God of past, present, and future tenses. Resurrection indeed.
Grace and peace. Two beautiful words that we need to reclaim for our language. Grace and peace, an entire theology can be built upon such a beautiful edifice. This Eastertide, let us put away our warlike language, our tendency to harm and criticize. We get enough of that in social media and in the news media.
Let’s covenant to be a community of grace and peace, seeking to proclaim the Lord Jesus and the power of Resurrection wherever we go and to whomever we meet.