We say it every Sunday. I said it today many times during our "Passing of the Peace" portion of the worship service. The initial line is"Peace be with you.." The response is oftern, "and also with you.". If you are enterprising, you might say, "May the peace of Christ be with you ..." (I think you get my drift. Feel free to put your own spin of things!)
I enjoy this part of the becasue we get up and move around and make the effort to greet one another in a very intentional way. Sharing the peace of God. Does that mean we always feel at peace when we do it? No, although I will only speak for myself here. For me, it isn't about speading my peace, bu t that of Christ, the Prince of Peace.
This Sunday, we come to the second week of our Advent journey, waiting with grand expectations for the birth of Christ. This week, we light the Peace Candle. So, what is peace for us? Is peace the abscence of conflict and quiet moments in our busy lives that are seen as refuges? Is it "getting away for it all"? Is it "peace and quiet"? I would like to suggest that the Hebrew understanding of Shalom is most helpful in oour quest to live out the peace that Jesus lived out. Shalm is the peace that results from a right relationship with Yahweh. The confidence and security that we know that God is present with us through all the different times in our lives.
Jesus' peace offered a challenge to the status quo and, as history constantly tells us, the status quo will always put up a fight to maintian it's power and privilege over us. Jesus audaciously offerred an alternative to the status quo of this world. He offers Himself. All of him. And is seeking all of us to respond with our whole being, belonging to God. A relationship. A Shalom that surpasses all our understanding. A deep and abiding peace resonating and growing. Remember john 15:5 - "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." My prayer, this week, for you is that this divine relationship impact everything you do in order that 'Peace be with you."
"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love." - John 15:9
I'm a follower of Christ, husband, father, friend, pastor, story teller, asker of questions, inspired by biblical narratives, social justice advocate, sports enthusiast, drinker of over priced coffee and general seeker of God's redemptive possibilities. Yeah, that about covers it. (If you discover something else, let me know!)