17th December 2019

Peace

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:7-9 (NIV)

Ping. The message came through, from a friend, that the dreaded cancer test was clear. The sense of relief was palpable in the words on the electronic page. On reading the type, the word that came to mind was ‘shalom’. It’s a beautiful word even in the way it sounds and forms in the mouth. Try it. Shalom, peace, what a wonderful concept. God knows we need it – individually, nationally and internationally. The word ‘peace’ is mentioned many, many times in the Bible. It is used by Jewish people (shalom) as a common salutation which has been handed down from generation to generation. It has ancient Hebrew origins. The Hebrew word ‘shalom’ goes much deeper than that of a salutation though: ‘The Hebrew word for peace, shalom (שׁלום) is derived from a root denoting wholeness or completeness, bound up with the notion of shelemut, perfection…and [the] divine.’*

The writer of Hebrews refers to this in Hebrews 7:2, “First, the name Melchizedek means ‘king of righteousness;’ then also, ‘king of Salem’ means ‘king of peace.’” Yes, peace, is what Christians are gifted with as the angels announced to the shepherds at the birth of Jesus: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.” As we see on a daily basis, mankind yearns for it but doesn’t know peace: “and the way of peace they do not know” (Romans 3:17). However, “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Romans 5:1). It is wonderful that even in times of duress we can find and have peace: “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way” (2 Thessalonians 3:16).

That said, sometimes it is difficult to find, or be at, peace. At the time of writing the draft for this I confess to have been feeling ‘wired’ after a day living with other humans. After all we are human, emotional, biorhythmic beings. However, the guiding principles remain the same, i.e. taking time out to be with God (peace) as Jesus did (Mark 1:35). We know that peace comes more easily to us sometimes than others but when we are struggling, the remedy is to “pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace” (2 Timothy 2:22). It’s true that peace is wonderful and really does ‘transcend all understanding.’ To echo what it says in Romans 15:33, “The God of peace be with you all.”

Shalom.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, we give grateful thanks that you are a God of peace. Help us to be at peace, to rest in your peace and to be advocates of peace: to live in your peace that transcends all understanding. We pray in Jesus’ name.
Amen

Study by Kevin Harris
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*The Gale Group from Contemporary Jewish Religious Thought, edited by Arthur A. Cohen and Paul Mendes-Flohr, Twayne Publishers.

About the Author:
Kevin Harris attends the Watford Congregation of Grace Communion International in the UK.

Local Congregation:
Gracecom Watford
St. Peter’s Church
61 Westfield Avenue
Watford, Herts.
WD24 7HF

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11AM

Local Congregational Contact:
George Henderson
Phone: 01923-855570
Email: george.sueann.henderson49@gmail.com

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