Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Matthew 5:44
How do you encounter peace in these disturbing days?
At the beginning of beginnings,
before there was anything
but depth of darkness,
over the face of the deep
to disturb the waters.
Thus, paradox was born
in the rippling Holy Breath of life:
And that initial exhalation,
first creative sound—shalom, salaam, peace—
breathed everything into being.
Each subsequent sacred encounter
was premised by a calming invitation:
“Peace, do not be afraid!”
… he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’ John 20:22
So, we catch our breath
to welcome peace into troubled minds.
and with each deep draw, invite peace of heart.
we become available to the embrace of Shalom—
peace not sourced in us, that offers rest for the soul.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. Wendell Berry
In its fullest sense,
the deeper peace for which we ache,
describes a wholeness wider than the cessation of conflict or confusion.
Such shalom is the expression
of our innermost desire for completeness,
uncovered in the righting of our relationships with life.
The impeded stream is the one that sings. Wendell Berry
Holy Peace has yet another dimension.
It can appear, be extended and shared, in times of distress.
When most needed, it is drawn out of us.
Consider a time of trauma:
when hard news breaks over you; difficult decisions must be made;
loved ones leave; life’s end looms.
Shalom is also the unexpected consolation amid desolation;
serenity in turmoil; calm in the eye of the storm;
peace that breaks out in broken-openness.
When it was evening on the first day of the week, and the doors were locked for fear of the authorities, Jesus came in, stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he showed them his hands and his side. John 20:19-20
Like a fresh breeze, Christ breaks through
to blow our minds,
and baring his wounds, bestows a renewing Spirit.
We address distress—
inner turbulence as well as outer troubles—
by invoking the life-breath of a new creation.
Jesus promised disturbing peace—
not bolstered by systems of power or security—
stillness rooted in the Presence of providence and mercy.
The world has our hands, but our soul belongs to Someone Else. Abraham Heschel
the embodiment of nonviolence;
with all mind, heart, soul and strength.
Followers of Jesus are committed
to the wounded Christ,
who breaks into our midst to disturb us from complacency.
And shalom involves a willingness
boldly to bear
the costly consequences of nonviolent living.
Breathe through us Breath of Life,
Your peace makes us new,
so we can love as you would love
our friends and enemies too!
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