Thoughts on Shalom
By Ryan C. Tittle of Montgomery, AL, USA
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have all turned to our own way,
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
By a perversion of justice he was taken away.
Who could have imagined his future?
For he was cut off from the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people. —Isaiah 53:6–8 NRSV
One can’t help but feel daunted by our five Mission Initiatives. Of all of them, though, I thought Pursue Peace was the one most easily applied to one’s life. Ending suffering and abolishing poverty seem pretty impossible, but couldn’t I pursue peace?
Last Labor Day I was in great stress and my mother was watching polarizing political news. Her anger was rising. I began sharing my very different views on subjects about which she was passionate. A generational divide reared its head. Overcome with emotion, she exploded at me and I at her.
My devotion to Christ got pushed to a hidden sanctum sanctorum. I packed my bags, got in the car, and started driving back home. About an hour into my trip, my heart softened. If I let my temporary anger rob me of time with my parents, I would never forgive myself. At that point Mom called with contrition in her voice.
All was well by midnight as we realized our stress was at fault for breaking the peace. The knowledge that I should boldly proclaim peace surfaced. I was ashamed. I realized this Mission Initiative is as difficult as any of the others. It takes a continual relationship with the Spirit, allowing for open communication, to pursue peace.
Obviously, I have work to do to exercise this initiative as a disciple. The realization that the initiatives are so large, so encompassing, is daunting. There is work to be done within and without. People are hungry for peace in their lives. We have an opportunity to do more for people than politicians could ever do. But will we follow through on our campaign promises? It remains to be seen.
May I see your light in all life.
Invitation to Spiritual Practice
Light of God
Close your eyes, and become centered with your breath. As you breathe gently in and out, reflect on the statement, “The light of God is in all things.” The light has a bright, soft beauty and radiates God’s healing love. The light of God reaches you and permeates you with a deep sense of peace. Rest in the light as it surrounds and fills you. Thank God that you live in God’s light, and it lives in you.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.