Lord, I crawled across the barrenness to you with my empty cup uncertain in asking any small drop of refreshment. If only I had known you better I’d have come running with a bucket. — Nancy Spiegelberg
We’ve been studying what it means to be “in Christ,” a phrase found in the opening line of Paul’s letter to the Colossians.
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers in Christ: Grace and peace to you from God our Father. (Colossians 1:1-2)
The opening lines of ancient letters almost always have three elements in them: the sender, the receiver, and a greeting. So if I was writing back in that day, it would have looked something like this:
Pete, a pastor of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the holy and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ on the internet. Grace and peace to you this morning!
In the ancient Hebrew world, the greeting was almost always Shalom, meaning “peace,” which Paul chose to use here. The Greeks greeted each other with the greeting Kairan, which means “greetings”. (Brilliant, I know. Of course, it would have been a lot easier for all of us if they had just used English, like all the aliens in the Star Trek TV series, but that’s beside the point.)
But Paul didn’t use kairan. He used kairos, which means “grace.” In fact, check out the greeting and closing of every single one of his letters and you will see kairos. He was constantly reminding people that they are recipients of God’s unmerited favor. The beginning and end of all he wrote challenges us to live in this “grace and peace from God our Father.”
How about you?
- Do you greet grace in the morning as God’s gift?
- Is grace what you greet others with as you go through the day?
- When the day is done, have you treated yourself with grace too?
Father of Shalom and Kairos, by the power of Your Spirit and the truth of Your Word, I receive Your grace for today! May it be the beginning and end of all I do. May it be the theme of all my thoughts. May it saturate all my relationships… may it be my greeting to the world as You live though me. Amen.
Listen to Pete, Jill & Stuart Briscoe on the Telling the Truth broadcast at OnePlace.com