The opening words of likely the earliest book of the New Testament are a wish for grace and peace to the hearer. If ever there was a time for that to be felt, to seep into each of our bones, so our souls resonate with peace and grace it is this moment.
We are trying to survive a pandemic, facing the ever-present sin of racism, the continuing socio-economic stratification worsened by the economic effects of the pandemic. Peace seems so far. Grace seems a distant ideal.
Paul speaks of grace and peace as he remembers the “work of faith and labor of love” of the Thessalonians, and especially he lifts their endurance in hope. Today, more than ever, we need to turn to the grace that is freely and abundantly gifted to us by God. In this grace, we will find the peace for ourselves, the rest for our souls (Matthew 11:28-30).
In the chaos of the world, we need to hear Paul speaking to us. We are chosen and loved by God. The Holy Spirit is with us, in power.
We cannot forget though, that while we are invited to welcome God’s grace and peace, that it does not translate into passivity, inaction, or complacency. Rather from that deep, unshakable identity as God’s beloved child, we can move forth to build the reign of God. Sometimes that work will look and feel peaceful and sometimes that work is painful and involves flipping a few tables. However, no matter what work we are called to do to help bring the Reign of God into the world, we must root ourselves in the grace, love, and peace of God.
This week I invite you to consider, the peace and grace God is offering to you. Grace is not earned. God’s love is unconditional. You are loved. God is offering you grace. Be open to that peace, that grace. Wrestle with that which may be keeping you from embracing God’s grace and love.
Once we are rooted in God’s grace and peace, filled with God’s love we can turn renewed to the work of faith and labor of love this world so desperately needs. To address the hurts, pains, and sins of our world. With grace, love, and the fire of the Holy Spirit great deeds can be done.