Quotes: What is Peace?

Shalom 3Luke 7:50 NRSV
And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Luke 8:48 NRSV
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

Shalom, a Hebrew word for peace, means restoration of right relationships and a sense of well-being and serenity. When Jesus spoke words of shalom to those who were disenfranchised and disinherited by their society and religious community, it was far more than an everyday greeting. Jesus was bestowing on them a very real spiritual blessing and the restoration of right relationships. Shelem, a Hebrew word for physical, emotional, and spiritual wholeness, includes a person’s bodily health and well-being. Shalom and Shelem can never be experienced separately. Peace, right relations, wholeness, and health are intertwined. They do not exist for one person or one institution if they do not exist also for the benefit of all. No one stands upright as long as others remain bent over.
– Helen Bruch Pearson, Do What You Have the Power to Do

Above all things, keep peace within yourself, then you will be able to create peace among others. -Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ

No, fighting for peace is rarely a glamorous affair. The icky work of peacemaking is about leaning into discomfort and swallowing your pride. It’s the scary undertaking of feeling ALL the feelings–and choosing love anyway. It’s sticking around for tough conversations when you’d rather stab a pillow. It’s parking your butt in the vinyl kitchen chair and meeting in the middle instead of hiding out at Starbucks. It’s baking scones for your love when you’re feeling vulnerable and exposed. It’s choosing to believe that your husband isn’t going to break your heart, even though your ex-boyfriend butchered it beyond recognition. It’s refusing to say scarring words–the ones you can’t take back and that he’ll never forget; words that will break both your Humpty Dumpty hearts forever. Peacemaking is “Grab the Clorox and clean the toilet bowl” kind of work. It’s also beautiful, sacred, holy work.
Tina Francis, Jerry Springer Scones: A Love Story

Extended quote by Frederick Buechner in Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC
Peace has come to mean the time when there aren’t any wars or even when there aren’t any major wars. Beggars can’t be choosers; we’d most of us settle for that. But in Hebrew peace, shalom, means fullness, means having everything you need to be wholly and happily yourself.

One of the titles by which Jesus is known is Prince of Peace, and he used the word himself in what seem at first glance to be two radically contradictory utterances. On one occasion he said to the disciples, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). And later on, the last time they ate together, he said to them, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you” (John 14:27).

The contradiction is resolved when you realize that for Jesus peace seems to have meant not the absence of struggle, but the presence of love.

Click here for a beautiful blessing by Steve Garnaas- Holmes entitled Peace I Give to You, based on Jesus’ promise of peace in John 14:27.

For more information on the art, scripture translations and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

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