My friend from the Jesus Collective, Keith Smith, shared this today on Facebook:
“In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.”
Praying for shalom in our veterans and in our world.
That’s pretty much it, I think. How do Peacemakers who follow Jesus observe Veteran’s day? Praying for shalom in our veterans and in our world.
The ancient Hebrew concept of peace, rooted in the word “shalom,” meant wholeness, completeness, soundness, health, safety and prosperity, carrying with it the implication of permanence.
Praying for shalom in the world is a huge prayer; it will build your faith to read the news and keep praying for shalom, or to encounter the real scars of war, physical and emotional, in the real lives of your neighbors who have come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, and all our countries previous conflicts. Wholeness, completeness, soundness, health safety and prosperity with an implication of permanence! It’s easy to think that’s impossible. But today is a good day to not give up. Today we pray for shalom.
My prayers today have me hoping that our community of peacemakers in Circle of Hope would not loose the thread of connection between the ordinary loving that we do and this big picture transformation that so many of us long for. I pray that there would be shalom and I pray that we would be a part of it in new ways and in the same old ways. Gandhi was very right when he said, “There is no path to peace. Peace is the path.” May the peace we make in our cells, congregations, love feasts and families be a consciously walkable path for us who aspire to be like Jesus. May our tiny shalom contribute to the bigger shalom we seek.
Osheta Moore, author of Dear White Peacemakers, paints a good picture of shalom by drawing the important distinction between peacekeeping and peacemaking.
Sometimes I forget we’re not called to be peace-keepers—the children of God are made of sterner stuff than to merely keep the peace—no, Jesus challenges us to be peacemakers.
The difference is subtle, but subversive.
Peacekeeping maintains the unjust status quo by preferring the powerful.
Peacemaking flips over a few tables and breaks out a whip when the poor are exploited.
Peacekeeping does everything to secure a place at the table.
Peacemaking says all are welcome to the table, then extends the table with leaves of inclusive love.
Fear drives Peacekeeping.
Love powers Peacemaking.
Peacekeeping is for districts and factions and empires.
Peacemaking is the Kingdom of God. (source)
When Jesus sent out 72 people to proclaim that “the kingdom of God has come near” in Luke 10, he gave them an uncanny peace to pass around the places they went. He told them to look for the “people of peace” which I take to mean the people who were eager to receive peace. Moore’s beautiful declaration for peacemakers gives me lots of ideas about where to find people who are longing for peace… for shalom.
My final prayer for Veteran’s Day is that as we go out, because we too are similarly sent by Jesus, that we would not lose track of the way of peace that we were given to share in the first place; may we demonstrate peace in that holistic way that the Hebrew word shalom encompasses. May we pray for shalom in the hearts of wounded people and in the halls of power, and may we walk the way of peace in our cells, Sunday meetings and families… in all our relationships, trusting how we are all of us together caught up in an inevitable future of shalom in Jesus Christ.
“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace (shalom) was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5)
Amen and amen.