Acts 14.19-28; Psalm 144; John 14.27-31
“A peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you” Jesus declares. Much of our lives is occupied in ineffectual efforts to find peace—with God, with our neighbours, with ourselves.
Shalom was Jesus’ first word to his startled and befuddled disciples on the evening of his resurrection day, when he broke through the locked door behind which they had barricaded themselves. That everyday greeting (cognate with the Hebrew verb meaning to be whole or complete) assumed new force on that day. Jesus’ greeting created peace, effectuated coherence out of the shards and fragments of all they had just a few days earlier thought they knew for sure.
Peace is more than a simple negative—the absence of hostility and violence. It is an energy, a creative power. As such, peace is a gift to be received from God, not something we can conjure for ourselves. It emerges from hardship and suffering, not in spite of them. Christ’s peace opens doors in our hearts and enables us to find peace with one another, and wholeness and coherence in ourselves.