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Peace Be with You
Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
John 20:21

Peace, or shalom as it is in Hebrew, is one of the hallmarks of the kingdom of God. Jesus, our Prince of Peace, came to make it possible for us to have ‘vertical’ peace with God through the forgiveness of sins as well as sharing this peace by ‘horizontal’ forgiveness in our relationships with others. He brought peace to disordered hearts through His loving presence and He brought peace to disordered bodies through healing the sick. Jesus spoke words that were antagonistic and caused others to hate him, but these were words that exposed a shallow and false peace proclaimed by false prophets. They declared ‘peace’ while ignoring deep wrongs and injustices committed by those in power and the leaders of the day.

Yet God’s shalom is only possible in the face of the truth, in the face of reality as it really is, not as we wish it were or pretend that it is. And God’s peace makes it right and it reconciles. There is restitution and redemption. It pays for sin and it brings together those who were apart: us and God, us and others, creation and God, us and creation. And all of this, every small piece of peace (Pardon the pun!) begins at the Cross. The Cross deals with everything that contends against God’s peace: sin, brokenness, hatred, abuse and death.

Peace be with you, Jesus says. This is not a wish, but a declaration. The peace of God is ours through the Cross. This is a peace we grow into more and more—the reordering of our lives to be aligned to God’s holy shalom. And we are called to share this peace with others. As the Father sent the Son to pay for our wrongs and reconcile us to God, we are to be reconcilers in the world: to share this holy gift of peace with God with the world at large. To declare its power as we build bridges, forgive and contend against injustice. This is far more costly work than shallow and false ideas of peace would have us believe. This peace cost Jesus His life, but it proclaims the coming Prince of Peace Himself who will one day make all things new and fully reconcile all things to Himself. “ Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.
The Rev. Dr. Suse E. McBay
Associate for Adult Christian Education and Prayer Ministries