Greetings to the peaceful people of East Zorra
In Hebrew, the word for peace, “shalom” (שָׁלוֹם), refers not just to the absence of conflict, but to something better replacing it. Shalom is all about things being as they should be. The most basic meaning of shalom is “complete” or “whole.”
Life is complex, and when one part of your life is out of alignment because of sickness, loss, a broken relationship, or something else, your “shalom,” or “completeness,” breaks down. Something needs to be restored.
“Shalom” as a verb means “making complete” or “restoring.” When Solomon completed David’s temple, that was shalom, or when one Israelite repaid another for damages, that too was shalom.
The Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 9:5-6) looked forward to a time when a prince of shalom would come to bring endless shalom – not just the absence of conflict, but a restoration of all brokenness into wholeness. This is why Jesus’s birth in the New Testament (NT) was called the arrival of “eirene” (εἰρήνη; Greek for “peace”) and why Jesus said to his followers that he came to give his peace to all of them (John 14:27).
The Apostle Paul claimed that Jesus “made peace” between God and people when he died and rose from the dead (Romans 5:1). Jesus has restored proper relationship between God and those who fully place their faith and trust in him alone for salvation. This is why the Apostle Paul wrote that “Jesus himself is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14-15). Jesus is the complete human we all were made to be, and he gives us his life as a gift that will allow us to become complete people, too.
Jesus’s followers are called to create shalom like he did, which requires patience, humility, and bearing with one another in love. Becoming people of peace means participating in the life of Jesus, who reconciled all things on heaven and earth through His blood on the cross (Colossians 1:19-20).
True peace takes work – finding what’s broken in our lives, relationships, or world, and doing our best to make it whole. One day, at Advent 2, when Jesus comes as king, He will rule with a ‘rod of iron’, and then He will establish ‘peace’. Forever.
Until then, in a fractured, broken world, keep being His agents of peace.