Lent – Day 38: Thursday, 1 April
2 Corinthians 13:14
14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Such a simple verse, but does it make sense? Why Jesus’ grace, God’s love and Holy Spirit’s fellowship? Are these complete in and of themselves? Do they form a microcosm of the big picture? It’s used as a benediction, a blessing, a closing or parting prayer and is known as the Grace, but grace is only a part of it!
Let’s start with God’s love (shouldn’t Paul have put this one first?! Mind you, The Love doesn’t quite sound as nice as The Grace!). Paul is referring to Father God. Love from the Father-heart of God, a love that is a model for parents and all those with responsibility of care over others, is greater than anything we can imagine, and certainly way beyond anything we can express in our relationships. Let’s consider the sort of love we express to those we know – family members, church family, our brothers and sisters in Christ in the wider Church, those who do not know God’s love – how will they know God’s love unless someone acts in that same attitude of love towards them?
The love of God be with you all/us all. It is a precious gift that we bestow upon each other as we pray together – love that walks in the same shoes of joy and sorrow, plenty and need, faith and doubt as those we pray it to, and wish upon their relationships with others.
The ultimate expression of God’s love that was there from the beginning and never changes was in his creation of the world, made for Jesus, the Son of God who gave his life for mankind. Love that was sacrificial, love that forgives sin and brings us to Father God.
Grace is an undeserved kindness and favour. It goes hand in hand with mercy, which is freedom from deserved punishment. This grace was revealed in Christ Jesus, whose death for the world was an act of God’s mercy and whose resurrection life in us is an act of God’s grace –we do not deserve to have Jesus in us, or for us to live in him. I live daily in God’s grace revealed in Jesus.
Fellowship brings each expression of Church together in unity. The Holy Spirit enables us ordinary people who come together in Jesus’ name to become Christ to the world. He enlivens and refreshes us individually, and carefully forms us into the likeness of Christ in the world.
I’d encourage everyone who speaks these words at the end of a Christian meeting to say them a little more slowly, with a gap for breath between each phrase. Some groups encourage looking around at each other with a view to making the prayer personal – it sort of works!
Is this prayer one that can be uttered by you quietly as you look around your fellowship meeting for worship or business?
Do you have to wait for the end of a meeting to say this?
Do you remember to accept this wonderful blessing from others as well as hand it out?
Heavenly Father, thank you for your great love for me. Thank you for the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit and thank you for sending the Lord Jesus to be the sacrifice for my sin. I pray that the grace of the Lord Jesus, the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit would be with all your blood-bought children – today and until the coming of Christ in the clouds, for His church – this I ask in Jesus name, Amen.
(Taken from Daily Verse)