Peace. The peace of God and the God of peace be with you. Shalom.
Shalom speaks of a completeness – a wholeness of body, mind, and spirit. Things are as they are supposed to be. It is a spoken blessing in the Jewish faith that has been passed on from generation to generation. Peace, in the Christian faith, an extension of the Jewish faith, is a ‘fruit’ of the Holy Spirit at work in us. To say ‘Shalom’ to another is to say ‘may your life and person be willed with well-being.’
Shalom doesn’t necessarily mean the absence of war or conflict. It does mean, that in midst of circumstances and conflict, one has a sense of peace. That in the midst of difficulties where ‘things are not as they are supposed to be’ there is a sense of deep and profound well being. I can’t imagine having this kind of peace in the midst of difficulties and conflicts without Jesus.
Paul teaches us in the book of Galatians that peace is a fruit of the Spirit. The action of the Holy Spirit in our lives produces a shalom in us and produces the action of shalom in our dealings with others. Scripture is filled with urgings to live a life of shalom one to another. A past TQ (Test of the Quarter) of ours expounded on this very truth: “Rejoice! Be gentle. Do not be anxious. Offer your prayers and petitions to God… and the peace of God that transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4) James also touches on peace. “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is pure, peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, sincere and impartial. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” (James 3) And Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be (are) children (sons and daughters) of God.”
Here is an assignment for Sunday you will enjoy. Look up Galatians 5 in The Message by Eugene Peterson. Its at your internet fingertips. Read the entire chapter. I think it is a well done interpretive paraphrase of Paul’s words to us. See you Sunday! And… Shalom! Title of our message for Sunday: Cultivating Peace in the Midst of Fragmentation.
PS: Ask anyone who went to Moab this year for Men’s Retreat about their experience – it was a good year together!
PSS: Work Day at Crestview Saturday May 11th, 9:00am to 12:00pm. Be there or be square. Be there if you dare. Or if your not there, you will be somewhere.