Grace and peace to you, flesh-thorn

Paul is about to light up the Galatian church, to (as he says elsewhere) "come to you with a rod." He isn't playing around.

But he includes, at the beginning of his letter, this curious phrase: "charis umin kai eirene" which means "grace (charis) to you (umin) and (kai) peace (eirene)."

Grace to you and peace.

He begins by wishing them well. Later, we'll hear his hurt and frustration, his exasperation and his confusion. But at the start, he communicates "charis umin kai eirene."

How hard was it to write those words? When I feel frustration and exasperation, I struggle to wish people well. I become so selfish, so me-centered, that charis and eirene get lost in the shuffle.

Christ calls us to love our neighbors and our enemies and our brothers and sisters in him. Wishing "charis umin kai eirene" is a small, but very tangible part of that.

What would my life and ministry look like if I could wish even the most difficult people "grace and peace"? What would happen if, no matter how deeply they hurt me, I was able to wish everyone "charis umin kai eirene"? What if charis and eirene became the focus of my desire for people (not following orders or performance or not getting on my nerves)?

True "charis" and "eirene", the deepest stuff, has God as its source. It comes, as Paul mentions "apo Theou Patros emon kai kuriou Iesou Christou" or "from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." Oh, that the people I serve would experience grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!

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