“To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 21 Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. 22 All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household. 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.” Philippians 4.20-23
Paul concludes his letter to the Philippians with what I call ”greetings and grace.” He wraps up his letter of instruction and encouragement to a fledging church seeking to follow the commands of the Lord Jesus.
First, Paul gives God the Father honor ”for ever and ever.” Then he greets ”God’s people in Christ Jesus.” He’s loving God and loving people. Then he communicates care and concern for those with him, mentioning Caesars household, which is interesting, to those in the church in Philippi. Finally, in his last line of the letter he prays that the grace of Jesus Christ be with their spirit.
Paul’s words are supportive, caring and encouraging. He knows the church has it’s struggles. He knows they are not perfect. But rather than rebuking them in these final words, he expresses deep affections for those who need it the most.
Yesterday Roe V. Wade was overturned. To me and many believers this is good news. The right to life for every human being was decided on a national and constitutional level. There was a time, however, when I didn’t think abortion was a big deal. When I thought that it was more help to give women a choice rather a baby a chance at life. I’ve since repented of that notion and fully back choosing life in every circumstance. I realize that many of my friends and colleagues differ on this issue. I choose to love them regardless. I pray that the Lord would awaken our senses to the miracle of life that begins at conception in the womb. I pray that we would greet one another, even those with whom we strongly disagree, with love and grace.
Paul’s words of encouragement can allow us to do the same. To share greetings and grace with all people. To ask forgiveness in ways in which we wronged others and been wronged. And to ask Jesus to help us discern the right way to live, to move and to have our being.
And now, to quote Paul, “may the grace of the Lord be with your spirit. Amen”
“O Lord God, you are good. I thank you for your love and ability to do God’s will without question. Thank you for your life, the precious blood that you spilled so I might have abundant grace and salvation. Forgive our nation as we have gone astray. Draw us to yourself. Help us know the power of your love and the beauty in your Spirit. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen