In a moment I will begin a religious, liturgical ritual with these words:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We join in this ritual every Lord’s Day, as we hear God calling us to worship him. The danger of every ritual is the temptation to forget what is being said or done, and therefore proceed through the motions of the ritual in a mindless trance.
But when this same ritual is participated in by faith, what could have been meaningless becomes for us words of life.
When I confer upon you the grace and peace of God, you should once again be amazed at what I am assuming. My assumption in pronouncing these words to the entire congregation is this:
God’s unearned favor and peaceful friendship toward you is a true reality.
God likes you, Terry.
God likes you, Matt and Matt and Matt and Matt and Matt.
God likes all of you as individuals, and he likes all of you as a connected people.
He views us as his children. He knows our frame. He knows our dustiness. He knows our weakness.
He knows our sin.
In spite of it all, he extends to us his kindness and mercy.
His face is toward us.
His ears are inclined in our direction.
His love is upon us, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
This is the context of our worship—the grace and peace of God, for us.
Let us therefore worship the Triune God.
~ February 6, 2011