“May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.”
2 Thessalonians 3:18
Here in the South there’s nothing like a good sandwich. And here, a really good sandwich doesn’t have to be complicated, only a few basic components are necessary. Particularly in the spring and summer, you can choose pretty much any kind of filler or meat you like, but for me Dukes Mayonnaise is a must, a brand not widely seen around all parts of the country. And along with that Dukes Mayonnaise, fresh garden tomatoes this time of year are pretty awesome, with just a dash of salt and pepper. In fact, it’s not uncommon just to have a tomato sandwich, as long as it includes Dukes, of course.
Another must to include in a good southern sandwich is the bread. It doesn’t have to be any fancy bakery bread, but the freshest loaf bread will do. And when I say fresh, I mean really fresh! So fresh in fact, that when you take a bite, the bread sticks to the roof of your mouth. Now that’s fresh bread!
Now the Apostle Paul was pretty good at making a sandwich too, but not the kind you may think. He specialized in what I call a “grace sandwich.” Just as we would hold the meat together with two pieces of fresh bread, Paul would hold the meat of instruction, teaching and exhortation together with “a slice of grace” at the beginning and a “a slice of grace” at the end of one of his letters to the churches, which later became known as Epistles. As seen in 2 Thessalonians 1-2, Paul would start off by saying, “This letter is from Paul, Silas, and Timothy. We are writing to the church in Thessalonica, to you who belong to God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.” And, Paul would end a letter with a phrase as seen in 2 Thessalonians 3:18, “May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all,” grace meaning God’s underserved favor, blessing and divine enablement. This word “peace” is defined as “security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous) and of Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God”
So, when you see the words “Grace and Peace,” receive them as two slices of God’s fresh bread and let them stick to your heart and soul.