Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
In an age when people depend on instant electronic communications, it may be hard for us to understand or remember what it’s like to get a hand-written letter in the mail. Perhaps it’s also difficult to think of a book in the Bible as a personal letter, but that is what the book of Ephesians is—a letter from the apostle Paul to people he knew and loved. This month we’ll explore Paul’s letter to the Christians of ancient Ephesus to hear its message of grace and peace.
Letters can be of great personal encouragement, and the way a letter begins sets the tone for everything that follows. No matter what our personal circumstances may be, we all need encouragement. The greeting used in a letter shapes at least our initial response to the writer and the message. So it is also with this letter from the apostle Paul.
“Grace and peace to you …” What an encouraging opening! It’s not just a superficial “How is your day?” but a statement that moves beyond mere human relationships to bring God’s love into the conversation.
Paul’s prayer is that the grace and peace of Jesus Christ surround the readers’ very being. Grace and peace will be at the core of Paul’s message to the Ephesians. It’s the core of his message to us. What a wonderful greeting that helps make our day!
Dear Lord, help us to receive your letter with thanks and to experience the “grace and peace” you offer us through Paul as your encouragement to us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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