Everyone with me sends you greetings. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen. Titus 3:15 (EHV).
After well-intentioned exhortations for Titus to ‘do good’, Paul concludes his short letter to the bishop of Crete. But let’s not rag on Paul too much. He meant well, and he actually was passing on good advice. In the moment – and if you take the previous verses out of context – it’s easy to see that we can lose focus on Jesus without much effort. We ARE to do good works; Paul was right to encourage Titus to do them; it was proper. But it was only proper if it was a way to let go and let God work through ‘doing.’ We should give Paul the benefit of the doubt because he was doing the only thing he could in the letter: send a written Casey Kasem long-distance-dedication to his friend that his friend might be encouraged.
Most of my friends here in Texas are Christians. In fact, most of the people I know in North Texas I know because we have gone to church with them. Sure, a few are neighbors, co-workers, and acquaintances I know through my wife. But most are fellow church-goers. My wife and I are tight with four or five other couples who we call “our Peeps” because, well, we’re each others’ people. While I can’t picture any of us saying the exact words “greet those who love us in the faith,” I can picture any of us saying something similar (usually while holding a glass of wine).
And while “grace be with you all” isn’t something I would picture any of us saying in conversation, the meaning is there. We wish each other well because we’re friends, because we’re brothers and sisters in faith, and because we love each other. Indeed, hoping God’s grace into each others’ lives is one of the reasons we get together. We thrive on sharing God’s grace through fellowship (and that wine).
These days, I could cry about most anything, but that’s a blessing that comes with having your heart broken and people around you who care to share God’s grace with you after. Years ago, whenever we’d leave my in-laws’, there would always be tears. I wasn’t comfortable with that back then, but things change. I’ve shared plenty of tears with our peeps, and my in-laws, and over the rest of our lives, I’m sure more will come. But those, too, are that blessing, even when we all cry ugly. Tears are a way of saying “God’s grace with you is important enough for me to cry for you.”
I imagine Paul might have shed a few tears when signing off from Titus. Or leaving at all. That’s quite the dedication, and the Peeps might agree. Maybe Casey Kasem, too. It’s a good place to let it be.
God’s grace be with you. See you next time.
For further reading: Philemon 1
Lord, thank You.