2020 05 Remarks
ReMARK’S:::: Pastor Mark W Douglas
Virginia raised the question of Paul’s greeting in his letters, in particular the words of Grace and Peace. I would add Mercy as well.
While these seem to be “standard greetings,” in a Pauline view they are much deeper than “dear” “my loved one” or other greetings that were often used by some of us when we wrote a note or letter to someone.
For Paul, the Triune God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) were in view. As a matter of fact, Paul always had a theological view in mind when he wrote to those gathered as followers of Christ in geographic areas.
Grace – the word had in its meaning that the hearer would experience God’s favor as they fulfilled the work of being a follower of Jesus and the salvation He brought.
Peace – the word had a meaning of tranquility as a follower of Jesus. It was the peace of God that caused the hearer to be at peace with their circumstances and with each other.
Mercy – the word had a meaning of God’s lovingkindness.
So, for Paul the greetings were very theological. It offered the hearer God’s favor, tranquility, and lovingkindness as they were about the mission of sharing Jesus within their cultural context.
The work of being on mission with God continues to challenge us in our current cultural context. So, we too need God’s favor, tranquility, and lovingkindness as we surrender ourselves to Jesus and his command to go and make disciples who are obedient and not just consumers of Jesus.