Disturbing the Peace
By Barrie Fox of Kirkby in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, England
Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. —Psalm 34:14 NRSV
Peace is a keyword in the church today, but peace is sometimes hard to grasp—harder to keep. We live in a world which talks about peace and the need for peace. Peace is so much more than just the absence of conflict. In scriptural terms, the word peace is rooted in the Hebrew word shalom. In its fullest sense, shalom describes a sense of wholeness and well-being that is urgently needed in today’s world.
When we somehow succeed in removing disruptive words and events from our lives, we feel blessed with a greater sense of peace. At times, even in church services, the simple removal of disruptive thoughts from our minds can provide a blessing. It also allows us to respond more positively to the challenge of the morning message.
Recently, I came across an interesting article that I had filed long ago. Written by an unknown author, I have paraphrased it here: Christians are people who are good when they don’t feel like being good; who are patient when they feel like being impatient. They smile, keep sweet, and do not retaliate when someone hurts them. Christians are cheerful when they feel like being downcast; go to church when they would rather stay at home or go somewhere else. They are people who keep steadily on the job of being a Christian when they feel like going out and slamming the door.
How good it is to realize anew we will praise the Lord more devotedly, find more joy in our church communities, and celebrate our mission of peace more actively!
Prayer for Peace
God of Shalom and of all that makes us whole, you complete our discipleship. You call us to experience peace and share it with others. May your will be done.
Spiritual Practice: Embodying God’s Shalom
Find a way to express and embody God’s shalom. Begin by prayerfully listening to your longing for peace and wholeness. Become silent and imagine you can hear the groaning of the Earth’s people, nations, and creatures. Prayerfully open yourself to God’s yearning for peace and the divine vision of shalom.
Today, God, I will open doors, not slam them.