Wednesday, March 30, 2016


What is peace?  How do you define it?

I was thinking about peace after worshiping at B'nai Sholom - and what the definition of Shalom is.
My research tells me the following:

  1. We sometimes want to define it as the absence of conflict. This definition might arise from the Latin word, pax, which has that definition.  Shalom is different. It relates more to the idea of completeness. Wholeness.
  2. Shalom is a now, but it also relates to a verb. The meaning is best understood not as a state of being, but as a movement toward peace. We can understand it best when we think about it as something we do - a process.
I like this quote from Cornelius Planting's book, Not the Way It's Supposed to be: A Breviary of Sin:
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.
The face that we aren't fighting with someone doesn't mean peace.  The idea that we are calm and tranquil doesn't mean we are at peace. When those around you are not in need, when you are whole and complete, when your community - all of it - is whole and complete, when your relationship with God is whole and complete, then we are the way we ought to be. We have arrived at peace.



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