“May the God of Peace … grant you peace at all times in all ways.”

It was a daring prayer, all things considered, to ask the Thessalonians to pray — and it is also a daring one for us, I imagine. The second letter to the Thessalonians arrived at a time of turmoil, strife and confusion. The Christian community was experiencing persecutions so severe that some believed the time of judgment had come, while others took advantage of their doubt, spreading misinformation and sowing dissent. The letter ends with a benedictory prayer: for God’s peace to be granted at all times in all ways. It might have been daring enough to consider asking them to imagine peace at “any time,” much less at “all times,” or to imagine peace in some sort of way at all, much less in all of them.

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