We pray for peace, for Shalom.
Shalom means much more than "peace." shalom means contentment, completeness, wholeness, wellbeing and harmony. It is the world the way God intends it to be.
We pray for shalom in our lives, but so often our lives reflect anything but shalom. Our lives are filled with anxiety, stress, dissension and worry. Where can we find peace when our world is so filled with discord?
The word peace appears over 500 times in the scriptures. It the Hebrew testament we hear about shalom as reconciling relationships, especially when God and humanity are reconciled. If our relationship with God is off kilter our whole lives are off kilter.
The Holy One longs for a harmonious relationship with us and for us to have the same with one another. There are always mountains to be climbed and struggles to be conquered but working together for all that is good is ultimately God's hope for our lives.
This week what can we do to work for God's peace in the world? We could practice forgiveness. We all need it. We've all said things we shouldn't have, done things we've regretted and most of us need lots of forgiveness a lot of the time. We also really need to forgive. When we hold on to resentments and replay past infractions over and over again we are hurting ourselves and we keep shalom from growing in our lives and the lives of others. Everyone's a loser.
When we forgive and when we root ourselves in God's word, ever seeking to follow God's way, we discover shalom. God's peace comes every time we choose to sow the seeds of love and grace. God's peace comes in the midst of diversity as we accept and love one another. God's peace comes when we realize that we are all different but we are all children of God.