Saturday, January 12, 2008

May the Peace of the Lord Be With You

I have a dear uncle who greets me with "May the Peace of the Lord be With You my Darling." Remembering my Catholic roots, I would respond, "And also with you Uncle." We would then launch into a lively conversation that lasts for hours. I thought of his greeting this morning and on the surface, one could take it lightly as "just one of those Catholic things" especially since I am a disciple, a born-again Christian, not a skirt-donning, no make-up wearing, no-fun having Christian, just a simple woman who found real relationship in Christ and in the company of other believers. So, this greeting could be dismissed in other religious circles, but as divine providence has it, it really can't be dismissed if you listen to the hope and promise and prayer in that greeting.

May the Peace of the Lord, what better peace than that in these times of war and corruption and recession and hatred? What better prayer to give to our fellow man than the peace of God and that He would be with us. I need Him every day as a wife, mother, niece, cousin, aunt, friend, writer, and scholar. The many events of my day could sometimes cause for unrest and confusion especially when my six-year-old daughter lets out one of her ear shattering screams in the wake of my thirteen-year-old son's antics. There are moments in my life of dirty dishes, mountains of laundry, a much-used one-bathroom, that I crave His peace and His presence.

This morning I thought of my Uncle's greeting as I was finishing up my reading in Ephesians. This is what is says, "Peace be with you, dear brothers and sisters, and my God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you love with faithfulness. May God's grace be eternally upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 6:23-24, NLT. Paul's final greeting to the church in Ephesus is enough to smile about. Being inquisitive, I turned back to the beginning of the book to see the salutation of his letter and sure enough, "May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace," Ephesians 1:2, NLT. So, this greeting of my Uncle is his faith and his prayer for me in that moment. I readily accept it. When he utters those words, it warms my heart and brings a smile to my face, in that moment, someone prayed for me. My response back to him, is my prayer for him. I really do want God's grace and peace to be with him as he battles COPD while laughing and joking with his younger generations.

We are at the dawn of 2008, the year has already started with tragedy and triumph, with history and hope, it is my prayer that the peace of God will be with us all as we take this journey through another year. We may experience the recession the news keeps hinting at, you may be in the middle of the housing crisis with a mortgage more than money or a home that won't sell, you may be unemployed or underemployed, you may be sick, or lonely, or in pain, but in 2008, my prayer for you is my Uncle's prayer for you and the Apostle Paul's prayers in all his letters, "May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." Amen.

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