Charis and Eirene
So many important letters began with the appearance of those fraternal twin sisters, Charis and Eirene. Or, as we more commonly know them, Grace and Peace. "Grace and peace to you, from God our Father." "Grace to you and peace, from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you making my prayer with joy." "Grace to you and peace from God our Father. We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you." "Grace to you and peace. We give thanks to God always for all of you."
I grew up hearing all these verses in Sunday school, and in every sermon, the salutation of each of these precious epistles was somehow skimmed over. Yeah yeah yeah, grace and peace, blah blah, let's get to the heart of the message. You know, the part where we tell everyone they're not good enough and they need to work harder. And yet, what message could be more important or significant than these two words? Grace. Peace. To a busy, sometimes overwhelmed, often guilt-laden, never adequate wanderer, these words say it all.
Grace. Favor. Goodwill. Loveliness. Acceptableness. (Can it be?) A tangible, oft-repeated refrain: "You are lovely. I thank God for you. You are acceptable."
Peace. Harmony. Concord. Security. Safety. Prosperity.
Sometimes I forget. And other times, I just can't believe it. Not because I have not been secure, and safe, and the recipient of overwhelming goodwill. But just because it seems too good to be true.