Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:3–9
May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. Through him, God has enriched your church in every way—with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge. This confirms that what I told you about Christ is true. Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (NLT)
For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His government and its peace
will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David
for all eternity.
The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
will make this happen! (Isaiah 9:6–7)
An Unlikely Trio: Grace, Peace, and 2020
Grace and peace. As we begin our individual and unique processes of reflection over 2020, grace and peace would perhaps be the last descriptive words to show up in our minds rather than the first.
Destruction, disruption, division. Those would likely be the words to jump to the top of the list of how we could collectively describe 2020. The church of Corinth to whom the Apostle Paul was writing also faced destruction, disruption, and division. The plethora of problems this church body was facing seemed insurmountable. It makes one wonder if Corinth was experiencing a ‘2020’ of their own kind.
In the midst of this, Paul encourages thanksgiving. It seems odd. How could one give grace, receive peace, and offer up thanksgiving whilst it appears as though everything is falling apart? God was still at work. His mission had not stopped. His love and compassion had not been removed. God was still at work.
It was grace that brought the church body of Corinth together, and by extending grace to one another, peace would be made. Peace would be evident. Peace would be made known by all who would enter and encounter those who called God their Father and Christ their Lord.
The global Church has been given a unique opportunity in this specific season of Advent: an opportunity to be bound together by grace, to offer grace to a weary soul, and that every weary soul would receive peace.
As sons and daughters of God, as those who call on Jesus as Lord, we have known and encountered the One who is grace and peace, who is the Prince of Peace, whose peace will know no end. What if this season of Advent, this last portion of 2020, was described as a season that offered grace and peace, not because circumstances or situations changed but because the sons and daughters of God chose grace and peace to be with all they encountered, whether on a screen, in passion, or in person? God is still at work. The Christ incarnate has come, giving us grace and being our peace. The thrill of hope is here, and our weary souls can rejoice.
April Wahl – Middle School Director at Century Baptist Church in Bismarck, North Dakota; EYELET Member