PEACE! Even to talk about it today seems like a fantasy or maybe a cruel joke. Peace in our time; are you kidding! What image comes to mind when you think of “peace”? Harmony? Tranquility? The absence of war? A beautiful sunset? Conflict-free family gatherings?
Whatever your concept of peace, I believe the Biblical word for Peace (Shalom) goes further and should expand our understanding and our longing for “Peace on earth.”
Biblical Shalom is a radical concept. Shalom is God’s vision of a world where true community exists; loving God whole-heartedly and loving their neighbour as themselves. It is the ability to imagine a world where there is no oppression, no exploitation, no corruption, no poverty, and no bigotry. Shalom lives where the weak and the vulnerable receive special care and protection, when we take seriously our responsibility to be stewards of the earth, not abusers of it. It is a world where people stop hoarding material wealth and freely share with those in need.
Advent is not just a season to talk about the future. We are called to pursue the Biblical concept of PEACE (Shalom) now! We are so slow to get it! The prophet Isaiah called the exiled people of God back to a covenant relationship in the seventeenth and eighteenth verses of Isaiah 48:
“The LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, says: I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is good and leads you along the paths you should follow. Oh, that you had listened to my commands! Then you would have had peace flowing like a gentle river and righteousness rolling like waves.” Isaiah 48:17-18
In the words of Frederick Buechner, “There can be no peace for any of us until there is real peace for all of us.” May this be our prayer as we long for “peace flowing like a river!
On behalf of the President of the CBAC, Mr. George Gray, the Council and the CBAC Staff, we extend to you and your family our sincere hope that you will have a peace filled Advent Season and a Merry Christmas! Thank you for your faithful support of our shared ministries and your partnership in the Gospel as we continue to serve our Lord Jesus Christ together.
Rev. Dr. Peter Reid
CBAC Executive Minister
Photo credit: Gareth Harper