December 19, 2013

Grace to you and peace!

By Ross Peterson-Veatch, associate vice-president for academic affairs
SCRIPTURE: Romans 1:1-7 (NRSV)
DEVOTIONAL:

Grace to you and peace!

Could you imagine greeting everyone you see with Paul’s beautiful salutation to the Romans? You’re headed into the grocery store and you start offering “Grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!” to all you encounter there. You stop at a drive-thru and when the voice comes over the speaker you offer grace and peace to the person on the other end. To people at every store counter you approach, those in every line you stand in, to everyone you walk past, to all you see in church, at school, at work, you shout out “Grace and peace to you!”

I can imagine it, but that’s about as far as it goes. It was awkward enough in the church services I grew up attending to “pass the peace of Christ” and shake hands with people – even though we were instructed to do it from the pulpit, and I did it week after week. And if I keep imagining, awkward turns to scary. What would happen if I actually just went for it? People might think I’d lost it. They might judge me. They might remember other things I’ve done or said and think I’m just being false. And that’s not even the worst of it. I, myself, might feel a little silly, or more than a little false. I would probably begin to examine my faith, encounter my own doubts and tell myself I’m not worthy to offer anybody anything from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

But Paul would have us remember today, and every day, that we are all God’s beloved – from Rome or Jerusalem, privileged or outcast, broken or whole – and we are all called to be saints no matter what our lives are like. That grace and peace we can offer to one another this season is God’s greatest gift to us and we received it from Jesus in order that we might pass it on to everyone. And while I’ll probably choose some different words or a different tone of voice to pass on that grace and peace to everyone I meet this season, I believe it’s the best gift any of us can give.

So, grace to you this day and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! See you in the grocery store…

SCRIPTURE: Romans 1:1-7 (NRSV)

THE LETTER OF PAUL TO THE ROMANS

Salutation

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for the sake of his name, including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,
To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Comments (11)

  1. Ross, thank you so much for sharing! Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!

    Dale December 19, 2013 |
  2. My mother used to hand out inspirational poems to people in the grocery store. She would try and find people that looked downtrodden or discouraged, or lonely. She would ask them if they had a home church and invite them to attend her church. When I was younger I was sort of embarrassed by these random encounters, but as I look back on it, hopefully what she wanted to do was accomplished. We can all use some encouragement (spiritually and otherwise) in our life below.

    letha lehman December 19, 2013 |
  3. Ross, I sent yesterday by mail, that blessing using Numbers 6:24-26, to each of my children. Thanks for the affirmation, Wilma Shank

    Wilma Shank December 19, 2013 |
  4. Thanks, Ross, for that up-to-date phrasing. A good word for this season and every season!

    Mary Ellen December 19, 2013 |
  5. Thank you for those words, Ross. Spot on. Our world would be a different place if we all created a “space for grace” to each other and to ourselves. Grace and peace to all!

    Betty December 19, 2013 |
  6. And grace and peace to you, as well, Ross! (Does it count if we offer the “grace and peace” to all we meet silently???)

    Gwen December 19, 2013 |
  7. Ross,your message today really speaks to me! Today I will extend grace and peace in the grocery store, the pharmacy, and elsewhere. I may transmit the blessing silently, but I will definitely be giving this blessing to others today. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    Susan Garboden December 19, 2013 |
  8. And grace and peace to you! I will give it an out loud voice in some new places….thank you!

    Barbara Clark December 19, 2013 |
  9. Thank you – your message of God’s love reminds me again how hard it is to truly accept this as personal to me :) Passing peace along is not easy even for extroverts, by the way. :)

    Helen Lapp December 20, 2013 |
  10. Thank you, Ross. I believe we’ll use “Grace to you and peace,” when we greet each other tomorrow, especially since Paul’s salutation (1:1-7) is our preaching text. Grace to you and peace!
    Jon

    Jon Byler December 21, 2013 |
  11. Thanks, Brother!! A great devotional for Advent — and even better to begin the year. May your new year be filled with grace and peace.

    Melinda Veatch January 9, 2014 |