How do you sign off your letters or in today’s tech-savvy world your emails or text messages? I interact with a variety of people and note the variation in final greetings or comments.
As Paul reaches the end of the scroll and has room for one more sentence, he opts for his favourite theme–grace. He is a grace-saturated leader. Read his communiques to churches and individuals and you’ll find plenty of grace.
After basic introductory statements in verse 1 of chapter 1, he declared a blessing of grace to his readers. ‘Grace and peace to you,’ he wrote. Now before he wraps up his correspondence he repeats this well-worn theme of his life. ‘The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.’
Grace is what we need, isn’t it? Saving grace, serving grace, sustaining grace–you choose the adjective. ‘Grace ‘tis a charming sound, harmonious to the ear…’ we sang many times at the church where I grew up. ‘Wonderful grace of Jesus, greater than all my sin…’ blessed me a multitude of times and of course ‘Amazing grace, how sweet the sound!’ has been sung, cited, and quoted a myriad times in devotionals, sermons and Sunday School lessons.
So as we draw this trek through 1 Thessalonians to a close – I conclude it with Paul’s greeting to this early church. Now, almost 2000 years later, our need for grace has not diminished. ‘The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.’ Amen, Paul. Amen!