Encourage one another . . . live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
— 2 Corinthians 13:11
An orchestra conductor was taking a leisurely walk when he suddenly felt assaulted by the sounds of poorly played musical instruments. The off-key noises came from a building that housed a church.
Ready for a fight, the conductor went inside to complain. The source of the racket turned out to be a rehearsing church orchestra. But the people he met were friendly, humble, and apologetic. Instead of fighting back, they invited him to stay for the service.
For the first time in his life, the man heard the gospel preached. The beautiful harmony of God’s grace moved his heart to repentance. He became a Christian and joined the church a few months later.
Today we are reading the closing words of the apostle Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians. In this very personal letter, we see the depth of Paul’s relationship with the church in Corinth. We also get a glimpse of some challenges to his spiritual leadership there. Yet at the end of this letter Paul speaks of mutual encouragement and of living in peace with one another. The peaceful relations in the community of Christ are part of the fuller experience of God’s love.
When we reflect God’s love to others, we experience more than just peace in interpersonal relations; we grow in our understanding of God’s grace and receive his amazing peace.
Father, help us to reflect your peace in this world with grace. And may we keep growing in our experience of your love and peace. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.