A Graceful Greeting
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you...” - Philippians 1:2-3 There is something terribly wrong in the church today. People are devoted to God, committed to His work, willing even to burn themselves out in service of the Kingdom. But we are somehow unconnected to the emotions and heart needs of our own lives, and of those around us.
Paul was in prison when he wrote the passage above.
He knew the affect his imprisonment would have on his flock. He wrestled with the impact it was having on him.
We’ve all heard expressions like “Grace to you and peace from God” in some form, to the point where they become meaningless, like saying hello.
But to Paul these words weren’t casual clichéd greetings.
He meant them. He knew how important it was for his readers to trust in the grace of God, to experience His peace. Paul wasn’t writing just as an apostle to the church; he was writing friend to friend; very warm, very personal.
He wanted to encourage his readers that yes, he was imprisoned, yes, his life was threatened, but we can count on God’s grace and peace. And he wasn’t afraid to admit that he needed to count on them, because his life was hard and scary.
He was thankful for his friends.
Every time he thought of them, every moment he sat there in prison, alone, he knew someone cared, someone was praying. He stopped to thank God every time he remembered that. Paul was connected to his brothers and sisters in Christ, emotionally and spiritually, even if he was separated physically.
We need to be there for each other.
We are a body, and we can bless each other...or we can ignore each other. Part of the secret of Paul’s strength and joy was the intimate, close fellowship he had with other believers. I believe it’s what the Lord intends for us, and it’s one of the most powerful ways He demonstrates His love toward us.
“To live in prayer together is to walk in love together.” Margaret Moore Jacobs1
[Photo: KayVee.INC, Creative Commons]