"I am the vine; you are the branches." — John 15:5

“Seeds of Grace” Shalom

Saturday, April 13, 2019

“So He came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through Him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father.” Ephesians 2:17-18

St. Paul preached a radically new world-view, a new perspective to the Christians in Ephesus. He painted a picture of a totally different way of living in community, the ground breaking, earth-shattering way of Jesus.    He called them to live a life of peace.  They were fighting with each other about a multitude of issues…circumcision, eating foods sacrificed to idols, spiritual gifts,  what ministries one group thought were more important than other…leadership. The Pharisees and Sadducees were fighting about whether or not there was a resurrection, and the Orthodox and Liberals were fighting about everything.  In other words, in ‘the good, old days’ the modus operandi of the early Christians was conflict. 

Paul, echoing Jesus’ words in the Upper Room, proclaimed a message that continues to speak to our world today:  Shalom.  Peace.  In spite of our inheritance of some decidedly violent scriptures, not to mention a history of horrendous acts done ‘in God’s name’, and the reality that we still struggle to respect one another, even within the Body of Christ, we understand that our God is a God of peace.  And God’s will for us is that we are to live in peace within ourselves and in peace with one another…globally and personally. 

I have always liked the prayer in our prayer book, in the section called Occasional Prayers: “O God, it is your will to hold both heaven and earth in a single peace.  Let the design of your great love shine on the waste of our wraths and sorrows and give peace to your Church, peace among nations, peace in our homes, and peace in our hearts.” In every place, every space, every time of our lives, we yearn for this peace but in the midst of brokenness, around us and within, it may seem evasive. And that, in itself, is why we continue to pray… for God’s shalom.

Prayer: O Holy One, you know all that troubles and diminishes me. Fill me today with your grace and your peace. Amen.