I am writing this in Israel on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and it is incredibly ‘peaceful.’ There is no traffic. All businesses and stores are closed. There is hardly a person to be seen or heard. For all intents and purposes there is peace. But we are all too aware that this region and the world we live in right now is anything but peace filled. But perhaps we have lost sight of what true peace really is… it is more than the absence of war, or the absence of strife in our homes or in our hearts. It is more than the quiet of a holy day. And it is so much more than a slogan on a bumper sticker or a greeting card.
Ephesians 2:14 says, “For he himself is our peace…” The Prince of Peace is himself our peace. Ephesians 2:17 then says that, “He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.” Jesus was not a political peace activist or a military peacekeeper. He was/is the ultimate Peace -Maker. This passage refers to the peace Jesus made between God and humanity. The greatest peace deal ever made. If we would all live out our peace with God, we would indeed have peace in our own hearts and homes and neighbourhoods. Imagine that spreading across the earth. That is what shalom truly looks like; mankind at peace with God and as a result, at peace with each other.
The Hebrew word “shalom,” translated ‘peace,’ has similarly been reduced often to a slogan. It is the way people say Hello and Goodbye here in Israel. But if we appropriated biblical shalom, in our interactions with people we would indeed begin to be agents of peace on earth. The biblical word “shalom,” encom- passes soundness, safety, prosperity, health, welfare, tranquility, completeness, wholeness and best of all, reconciliation and friendship with God through covenant. That’s a little more challenging to speak over someone you pass in the street, but that is our mandate. To be peacemakers. We have peace with God so that we can be agents of peace on the earth. Most of us will never be in a position to bring military or political peace to a nation but we all, if we abide in Him, carry within us the Peace of God that surpasses all politics, strife, fears, anxieties, even our very understanding. God’s Peace is supernatural. That means natural circumstances cannot take it from us. When other types of peace are falling short, we have a peace that remains; a completeness, a soundness a wholeness that is unshakable. And we have to share with others.
So at Christmas, when we celebrate “peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind,” we need to remember that this child born unto us IS the Prince of Peace. Jesus is Peace incarnate and He brought true Shalom to the world – that is Peace on earth. The literal wars may not have stopped but the human heart can stop warring with God and find true peace. Jesus made Peace for us, and has now given us the ministry of peacemaking. It is for us to wage peace on the earth, by bringing Life, Hope, Truth and Peace Himself into our homes, our streets and our cities – that is goodwill to all mankind. Shalom.
By Catrina Henderson
CONNECTION & ACTION
1. What does “living out our peace with God” look like?
2. What would shalom look like in your home?
3. How do we bring “Life, Hope, Truth and Peace” into our
– That we would bring shalom into our communities
– The ongoing work of Vision Rescue in India
– That peace would be extended across the earth through our global leaders