To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul’s greeting ‘grace’ and ‘peace’ in its very essence is an act of reconciliation using the traditional Jewish and Gentile forms of greeting. I suspect it is difficult for us to understand what response such a greeting might have evoked as it affirmed the Jewish and Gentile Christians in the early community.
More than that the notion of Paul speaking of the people as ‘beloved’ and ‘called to be saints’ built the people up in love and in hope.
Words of greeting and affirmation can bring transformation and joy into the lives of others. This is demonstrated by Soul Pancake’s give a compliment exercise. It reminded me of various activities I have engaged in as a teacher trying to get students to speak positive words of affirmation to each other. words which are not always easy to articulate or even receive!