Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I was at a church service recently where the opening speaker mentioned how Jesus regularly used the phrase "peace be with you." I think it was a nice touch since we were talking about the fruit of the spirit of peace that week, but she left out the important aspect of context. Peace be with you was not a saying that Jesus started Himself: it was ingrained in His Jewish culture in the word "shalom."

According to Wikipedia, shalom has multiple meanings and can be used in many different ways. Shalom means peace, completeness, welfare or well-being, and can be used as both a greeting and a farewell. I am sure that in cultures that use and value the word and its depth, the meaning gets lost in its continuous use: just like Americans don't think twice about asking "how are you doing" without expecting an honest answer.

I am considering whether I want to adopt the word into my regular vocabulary. I would like for it to be there as a reminder to me of what I deeply hope that others experience. Maybe if I consciously incorporate it into my greetings or farewells it will help me be more aware of how my actions play a role in the peace and well-being of those around me. But despite my good intentions and the core of the word, I am not sure how it would be accepted in a culture that is often xenophobic and ignorant.

For now I think I will start out small. I will keep it as my word and as a word I use for those close to me and those whom I believe would understand its meaning.

So now I close this post saying may the peace, well-being, and completeness of God be with you.

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