What does real peace look like?
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:
2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I must have read the opening to this letter and other epistles like it dozens of times before. “Grace and peace to you, blah blah blah.” Normally I skip over the first few lines, because I know how Paul starts all his letters, and it feels a bit predictable.
But this time that word “peace” jumped out at me. “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” I’d never paid that much attention to the word “peace” here before. Maybe it’s because right now I’m sitting at home in self-isolation while a global pandemic rages across the world. That word “peace” looks so unfamiliar, even foreign to me right now. Even the concept of peace feels distant, even make-believe right now, as there are other concrete realities that feel more tangible. Things like my friend’s dad who just tested positive for coronavirus. Things like my friend’s manufacturing business that might go bankrupt after months of not being able to work. Things like my grandparents who aren’t able to meet their great-grandchild (my nephew) who just got born; they may well miss out on seeing the first year of his life and being able to hold him in their own arms as a newborn. How do we find peace while all this is going on?
What does it even mean to have peace?
As I read Ephesians, I’m reminded that Paul was no stranger to suffering. He mentions several times in the letter that he’s writing from prison (Eph 3:1, 4:1, 6:20). I feel like I’m going crazy being isolated in the comfort of my own home, but here Paul is isolated in a prison, awaiting a death sentence.
And still he’s talking about peace.
Where does he find peace like that?
“Peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Somehow it’s the sort of peace that he can cling onto even as he’s in pain, afraid, and facing death. Somehow there’s a deeper peace that comes from God.
And that’s just the opening line. Paul is about to tell us all about the grace and peace that come from God in this letter. Stay tuned to hear more about how God has done this marvellous work.
Paul starts this letter with a glorious assurance of the peace and grace that come from God. We might be craving that sort of peace right now, and what a privilege we have to read the rest of Ephesians to see more about how God brings that peace!
Dear God of grace,
Thank you for sending Jesus – the one you call our Prince of Peace. There is so much going on in my mind and heart today, so I pray that you will still my heart and help me to meditate on the peace and grace you bring. As I navigate the mess, pain and anxiety of this life, help me to keep crying out to you as the only one who has power over it all. Help me see your grace already shown through Jesus on the cross and your power shown through his being raised to life. Grant me peace as I look forward to the new life you promise me too. Amen.
A song to listen to: Perfect Peace
Living Church City South