Shalom and Salaam – 2

Shalom and Salaam. Two words from two different cultures and religious traditions, each pointing to the same thing – peace be with you.

In his book The Beatitudes of Peace, Father John Dear shares that when “Jesus went up the mountain” and began to teach his disciples, he launches a new movement for lasting peace.

“He knows that we are all one, all united, already reconciled as sisters and brothers, children of our beloved God. But his nonviolence upholds one fundamental bottom: there is no cause however noble for which we will accept the taking of a single human life. For Jesus, the days of killing, injustice, violence, and war are over.”

In the Sermon on the Mount, we learn that peacemaking calls for addressing and resisting violence. But the peace of Christ is more than a lack of conflict; it is the fullness of well-being. Jesus uses the traditional Hebrew salutation, šālôm to announce the gift of salvation, the bounty of messianic blessing. This is the peace that Jesus longs to share with the world through us, the members of his Body.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27)

Loving, believing in, and following Jesus means joining his “as-if, already” movement.

We are people living as if the values of God’s reign are already fully realized in our society –

— as if people matter for who they are – rich in diversity, equal in dignity – instead of solely by immigration status, gender, social or economic class, or political party

— as if the meaning of living life is about making a difference for good in the world, no matter how much material wealth someone has

— as if every child is a gift at the moment of conception, instead of a choice to be made

— as if every person is an active participant in society because they have wisdom to be shared, instead of listening only to those who agree with us

— as if every conversation we have with someone builds them up and forwards the promotion of peaceable living with neighbors

— as if everyone can share what is sufficient of the earth’s goods for themselves and their family, instead of measuring how much is enough by standards of a virtual shopping mall

— as if the earth is being cared for to benefit future generations, instead of measuring the planet’s usefulness by competition among corporations

Author Ian Morgan Cron shares that living “as-if, already” in the midst of our family, workplace and community creates the space at the local level for modelling how things can be and will be – one day.

Shalom and Salaam.

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