A small group of us are studying the book of Philippians. Last night we did chapter 1. So much good stuff, I had to blog a little about it. Today I’ll share briefly about Paul’s greeting. Tomorrow (or at least some day soon), I’ll share about “abounding in love.”

Paul’s greeting in the letter is twofold — a salutation and a blessing. The blessing is “grace and peace to you.” Pretty simple. But we looked at the words.

Grace — The word for grace is “charis” which means not just the unmerited favor we receive from God, but also it’s “reflection in [our] life” according to Strong’s Greek Dictionary. I don’t often think of that when I think of grace. When I pray “grace,” I’m not just praying for God’s favor to be shown to someone (or myself), I’m also praying for the reflection of that grace — the outward expression of it in our lives. That’s pretty cool! It’s like the prayer is doing double-duty or has double power. I’m not sure why, but this has me pretty jazzed.

Peace — Not the absence of conflict, but a restoration to oneness, quietness and rest. That sounds a whole lot more like a spiritual thing to me than a relational thing. My spirit so often needs to be restored to oneness with God, to experience quietness and rest in the midst of a crazy world. I’m reminded of the spiritual formation “exercises” or practices that I’ve largely allowed to fall by the wayside.

Paul blessed the Philippians with grace and peace at a time when they were experiencing persecution — being falsely accused, arrested and thrown in prison. He was saying “may your soul be at rest with the Father and your life be a reflection of His grace in your life.” Wow! all that in just 3 words — “grace and peace.”

Grace and peace, friends.

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