I’ve been on the road today, once again a trip to see my daughter and my grandchildren. God had painted the sky in such beautiful colors I could not let my camera lay in its case. I love my little digital camera. I can hold it in one hand and keep the other one on the steering wheel.
There was an accident on the highway so we were considerably delayed. That gave me the opportunity to snap pictures without endangering myself and other travelers. The Apostle Paul was a traveler. He had no camera to snap pictures with. He had no car for his travels, no personal jet like some preachers use today. I think that if he had lived today he would have flown on commercial flights.
Think of the blogging he would have done! He was a prolific writer using the means of his day. Sometimes he probably had someone helping him do the writing because in some of his letters he emphasized that he was writing with his own hand.
“I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write” (2 Thess 3:17).
A very distinguishing mark is the way he greeted the recipients of his letters. I was thinking about that on my trip today. He had some very specific words, each one with such profound meaning. I’ll let those words be my greeting from this trip, interrupted by an accident. It was almost cleared when I passed the site. The evidence told a story of a truck that lost all its shipment of cantaloupes.
I usually make it without waiting for a train to go by in Okay. Yes, the town is Okay. And it was okay to sit and wait for the train.
Closer to home I had to stop at the dam, where they have been doing work months on end. So I just stopped on red.
I chased the moon! It wasn’t easy to get a decent picture from behind the wheel, but it was fun to try. Can you see it hiding behind one of the trees?
And now we come to the greeting. And it wasn’t only Paul that greeted that way. Check out the other letter-writers. They also greeted with:
Guess if I was welcomed with excitement when I arrived? Probably just as excited as the people of the first century where when a letter from the Apostle Paul arrived. They could not check emails or go on Facebook to see what Paul was up to. Another thing. My little Sarah-girl is still stuck on Rapunzel. “Let’s tell a story of Rapunzel going to sleep,” was her greeting. I told her we would have all the time in the world tomorrow. I’m here to baby-sit. I’ll have to come up with some new twists to the story.
But there is no twisting Paul’s greetings. They are perfect.
- Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
- Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
Here is an example of one of his closing greetings:
“Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints send their greetings. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Cor 13:11-14).
We should follow his example and greet each other with grace and peace.