Dear members and friends of Briarwood,
In more normal days I have often wondered how I should sign off emails to friends and colleagues. Should I say: "Best regards" or "Cheers" or "Take care" or "Best wishes." Or should I forget about a sign-off phrase and just use my name or initials. It's a small thing, perhaps. But in these pandemic days, it feels more important than ever. How should I express care for someone else in signing off my email? Over the past weeks, I've started to use the phrase "grace and peace".
"Grace" seems so important. The reality of grace means that God meets us where we are, blessing us beyond what we could imagine. Through Christ, God meets us to bring forgiveness and healing and strength beyond what we could have expected. It seems we also need to extend grace to ourselves in these days—to not expect more of ourselves than we should in the face of our struggles and weakness and fears. "Grace" seems like a good word for all of us these days.
"Peace". Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and through Jesus we know that real peace comes to our world—the peace that is otherwise "Shalom". This is the deep peace of God. Shalom means wholeness, well-being, love, and comfort. It sounds just like what we need in these days too, doesn't it? Peace in our hearts. Well-being in our neighbourhoods. Comfort for those in distress. Love for toward each other. Peace in this beautiful and expansive sense; a gift of God.
So members and friends of Briarwood, in this deep and full sense,
I wish for you grace and peace in this day and this week.
Rev. Dr. Roland De Vries,