I’m excited to talk about a new theme this week. Every time I think of the word peace, I think of world peace and how it is the quintessential beauty pageant answer. Everyone wants peace, but many don’t have a clear path to get it.
What is Peace?
Typically, the word peace is often used to refer to an absence of conflict. For example, times after a war are characterized as times of peace. Peace agreements always come after a cease-fire. Peaceful relationships are ones marked with an absence of conflict not a plethora of fighting. However, peace is not simply an absence of conflict. We’ve all been at a family dinner where although no one is fighting, no one is really enjoying each other. At best, “peace” is every one keeping their mouth shut and avoiding eye contact. That’s not really peace. That’s just saving face.
Peace can’t just be an absence of conflict, although that is a very important part of the word’s definition, but it also must mean the presence of harmony and flourishing.
The Old Testament Prophets used a word called shalom to indicate the peace that God has planned for creation. An author that my husband reads, Cornelius Plantinga, puts it like this, “The webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight is what the Hebrew prophets call shalom. We call it “peace” but it means far more than mere peace of mind or a cease-fire between enemies. In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness and delight—a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed, a state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as its Creator and Savior opens doors and welcomes the creatures in whom he delights. Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be.”
I’m excited to explore how Jesus brings this shalom, this peace to all areas of life this week. If you happened to miss last week’s theme, hope, then check those posts out here. I’ve archived them for easy access.