Reflection: Peace is often defined as the absence of conflict, but that is not actually a great description of biblical peace – because real peace is not just the absence of hostility, or the ignoring of reality. The biblical concept is much deeper than an absence of trouble or a holiday to get away from it.
In the Old Testament blessing from today’s reading, the word for peace is ‘shalom’. It refers to a state of wholeness and harmony intended to resonate in all relationships. When used as a greeting, it was a wish for outward freedom from disturbance as well as an inward sense of well-being.
Jesus doesn’t exhort us to be mere peacekeepers but peacemakers who truly practice and bring shalom. The difference is stark. Peacemakers actively overcome evil with good. They remove hostility and effect resolution between enemies. But not everyone is a peacemaker – some are peace-breakers or peace-fakers and make no mistake, both are absolutely the opposite of peace making and bring no sense of real shalom.
Question: Which of your relationships are not characterised by the wholeness and harmony of shalom? What can you do about it?
Prayer: Dearest Lord, I bring before you the parts of my life that are characterised by a lack of real shalom. Make me long for wholeness and harmony in all my relationships and empower me to act on this longing, I pray. Amen.