Thursday, July 12, 2007

God's peace

God's peace. It is shalom in the Old Testament, meaning God's blessing transforming all creation. In the New Testament influenced by Greek culture, peace takes on both an intrinsic and extrinsic meaning, for us as individuals and for us as community in Jesus.

But peace is not meant to stop there, as really is especially evident in shalom yet likewise is carried over in the New Testament meaning of it. In Christ we're to be proclaimers and bearers of God's peace, extending it to every sphere of life and activity that is ours, and beyond.

At its heart it is a peace that is healing the brokenness of creation, beginning with relationships of humans to God, then humans to each other (including ourselves), humans to God's creation and the healing of creation itself- all in the new creation in Christ.

When people see us they should see little christs (C.S. Lewis). And especially should this be so when they see us together in mission to the world. As we give ourselves even as the Lord gave himself in such mission, God's peace we'll be made known to many and will begin that work of transformation that is someday to cover all the earth.

What do you see in this peace of God that can help us better understand and live in it?


Dave J. said...

Shalom is my favorite word in the Bible. A one-word prayer. Perhaps even a one-word summation of the Bible...and my faith.

L.L. Barkat said...

I find that peace is not always easy to define. And sometimes it requires what seems counter to itself before it can flourish. (I think of God's judgments on the Israelites, preceding his bringing them home to himself.)

JP Manzi said...

Great thoughts Ted, I can only ask another question in regards to your question. Can you imagine if we all (regardless if one proclaims to be a Christian) followed the peace that Jesus taught. The peace that is so evident in the words of our sacred Book?

Ted Gossard said...

Dave, I like the idea of shalom as a prayer or a blessing. And certainly a good one word summation of the story of God, at least for its goal and realization for creation.

Ted Gossard said...

L.L., Great points there. Yes, and this reminds me of Bonhoeffer's thought that peace and security come at risk and at risk only in this world. He lived that out in Nazi Germany.

Jesus did say that he came not to bring peace, but a sword and division, but to the end of bringing real peace and shalom.

Ted Gossard said...

JP, It would be a different world. And this reminds me that this peace or shalom is holistic, right down to the cores of our hearts and beings out into the world of all things. We have a taste and glimpse of it through Christ now. But then we will be immersed in it, inside and out, along with everyone else. In a way, unimaginable to me, though at certain times I seem to get a little dip or touch/flavor of it.

Kim said...

Thanks, for your thoughts Ted. I used to think of "war" as the opposite of peace. I've come to believe that the opposite of peace is "confusion." So, when I am thoroughly convinced that I am known and loved by God and that I know and love Him all confusion leaves me and I am at peace. If I think, act and talk with this conviction, I can be more like Christ, a worthy representative to the world. God help me...Peace, Ted!

Ted Gossard said...

Kim, I like your thoughts here. Reminds me of Francis of Assisi's prayer, asking God to make HIM an instrument of his peace. But we need byn faith to enter and live in, more and more, that peace ourselves. God help us.

Ted Gossard said...

Kim, reminds me of the verse, You will keep him in peace, peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

Peace is surely found as we never cease looking for God's will so as to live in and do God's will, through the grace of Christ.

Turmoil and confusion is what we end up with, if we don't get there, for sure.

Dave J. said...

JP, were you thinking of a John Lennon song when your wrote that?

"Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace"

A whole other conversation about why John felt that religion was not compatible with peace. But I always liked this song for its challenge to imagine the unimaginable. Very Christ-like.