By Dorette Saunders
Thinking of how war-torn our world is right now, my mind flashed back recently to our youngest child’s earliest school days when the children, parents, and teachers greeted each other with the words, “Grace and peace….”
I found the practice quaint, knowing it was a salutation that was used quite often by the apostle Paul, one of the writers of the New Testament. Lately, however, I find myself more appreciative that the school would encourage preschoolers to pass the blessing of God’s grace and peace when they met in the mornings, and when they parted from each other in the evenings.
“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:2, NIV).
Just think how life-giving and life-changing those words are. We receive grace, God’s unmerited favor, through our faith in Jesus Christ. It’s God’s grace that makes salvation available to us. It doesn’t matter who we are, or what we’ve done, God freely offers us his saving grace.
Imagine a situation where ethnicity, gender, religious and political affiliation, economic or social status are not barriers to receiving the precious gift God has reserved for us.
And this grace which we have received freely is not to be held hostage, not to be hoarded, but to be shared, passed around like a light in the darkness “so others will see the good you do and will praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, CEV).
Grace paired with peace is a powerful combination. Not only has God chosen to give us his favor, his loving kindness, but he has also lavished peace on us. One might wonder where this peace resides. A brief glimpse at social media and local news shows the proliferation of wars…and rumors of wars…on every front.
Nations are not at peace. Neither are our communities, nor our families. Factions and fractures mock our religious and political institutions. And what once was, no longer is. Evil is slowly tearing our walls down. And, in many cases, we sit in silence as many disavow the true God who gives us grace and peace.
Yet, peace does not necessarily imply the absence of war, or worldly chaos. The peace that God gives defies explanation. While storms may rage on the outside, the balm that is the peace of God maintains equilibrium and calm within our souls.
Further, the Scriptures tell us that neither grace nor peace is attainable or sustainable without the divine power of God the Father, and Christ Jesus the Son.
Listen to Jesus’ words to his disciples before he left this earth:
“I give you peace, the kind of peace only I can give. It isn't like the peace this world can give. So don't be worried or afraid” (John 14:27, CEV).
Remembering Jesus’ words makes all the difference. Can you imagine what the world would look like if we extended grace to each other? Or if we took the words of the apostle Paul to heart:
“…do your best to live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18, CEV)?
We’d eliminate hunger and poverty. Stop war in its tracks, fashion enemies into friends, and carry out the mandate to let the peace that comes from Christ control our thoughts (Colossians 3:15).
This is our desire. Grant us, Lord, your grace and peace.
PRAYER: Lord, your grace is sufficient for us. And your peace is all we need. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.