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Julian Whiting’s Reflection on the Word
JCFL Prayer Vigil, 5th June, 2014

What do we understand by the meaning of the word PEACE?JCFL Prayer Vigil - June 2014

Is it the absence of war and strife, is it a general feeling of physical and mental wellbeing or is it just a general sense of satisfaction with one’s current life plans?

There is power in Jesus and his words. Receiving the gift of peace is a powerful state to be in to deal with the many challenges and situations we face daily. We need this Peace.

What are we like for example with our work colleagues or indeed with close members of our families? How do we demonstrate such peace that Jesus talks about to others? Are we at peace?

For me for example, peace has come at times when space has been given to share life experiences with others, experiences that have been hard to articulate. Being heard has resulted in a sense of peace. However, I have wondered many times what real peace was. I believe it requires some effort and some rewiring of our hearts and minds to grasp peace and determine its true value and meaning.

Jesus I don’t think meant it to be a casual ‘peace be with you’ like we do with each other on a Sunday, for example, with smiles sometimes that may hide stuff that we are reluctant to show or indeed share. No, I feel Jesus meant much much more. Life changing Peace which will transcend all understanding; Peace that has power at its core; the Peace which Jesus gave to his disciples; Peace Jesus I presume wishes us all to own and experience and share.

Jesus would more than likely have greeted the disciples with the Aramaic Shalama (equivalent to the more well-known Hebrew Shalom). Shalom is a rich term which means more than peace as absence of war or inner turmoil. The Hebrew word Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord.

It is of course difficult for us to achieve a consistent state of Peace.

What for us then when we read horrific news items which move us at times to the very opposite of Peace? How do we deal with that? How can we maintain this Peace whilst raging inside and wrestle with thoughts that go no further than our own space?

Whatever comes our way, however challenging or difficult, my sense is that Jesus is asking us to embrace the ‘Gospel of Peace’ through all of life’s trials and tribulations.

Jesus breathed Peace over his disciples directly whereas we in our lives search for Peace.

There are various ways of finding Peace, but again we need to be clear as to what this Peace actually is and what it actual means. The disciples went out to the world and were able to communicate the good news in the PEACE that Jesus gave them.

Are we yearning for the same Peace that Jesus gave the disciples in our daily lives?

Let’s try and embrace Jesus’s words for the rest of this week and into the next and console those who may be very far off from any sense of Peace within their lives.

Amen

 

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