Sunday, January 25, 2015
Davis Motor Sales banner ad
Posted on 2/2/14
ronniemcbrayer300 orangeKENTUCKY (12/15/13) — “On earth peace, goodwill toward men,” sang the angels on the first Christmas morning. The Hebrew word for peace is shalom. In Judaism shalomis a living concept, not a word; a vision for how life could be, should be, and the life God is pulling his whole creation toward.

In this way of thinking, peace is not merely the absence of war or conflict. It is not simply quietness or calm. It is overall wellbeing. It is health and wholeness. It is personal, communal, and cosmic harmony. It is a satisfied and blessed life.

So, when someone blesses you with “Shalom!” they are wishing you the highest and best that God can offer. “Be at harmony with yourself, your world and your God. Have a fruitful, robust life,” they are saying. All of that in a single word, and shalom is God’s intent and will for the world.

If this is true, then what in God’s world has gone so terribly wrong? As I write these words this world is anything but peaceful. Tyrants rule. Violence is routine. Political opponents dig in to fight, argue, vilify and wrangle. All while we mark the first terrible anniversary of that hideous act that played itself out in a Connecticut elementary school.

Peace, much less the broader idea of shalom, doesn’t seem to be how the “world really works” at all.  We are pushed to the same conclusion as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who wrote, mournfully, “There is no peace on earth, I said; for hate is strong, and mocks the song of peace on earth, goodwill to men!”

Yet, the problem is not God’s, for he has provided the path to peace and goodwill. The problem is our lack of practicing peace; and by “our” I am speaking of my own tribe – we who are Christians. We can be as hateful, combative, and eager for violence as any other group of people, sometimes more so. Nothing will change in this world – nothing – until those who follow the Prince of Peace become practitioners of his words and way.

Such practice isn’t easy, I know. I am a proponent of peace by means of nonviolence, and yet, nothing I say or write stirs more vitriol from other Christians than this subject. Within seconds of giving a talk about Jesus’ way of peace or writing an article with God’s shalom as its subject matter, someone from the local First Church will be wagging a finger in my face while trembling with rage or lighting up my email box with scorn.

I understand. In my heart, I’m not really a lover of peace, and I resist shalom. Deep within, I am a violent, revenge taking person. But stuck with Jesus, what choice do I have but to give peace a chance? Jesus gives us no other option but the confession, “Let there be peace on earth; and let it begin with me.”

This confession doesn’t mean we won’t grow thirsty for revenge, that we won’t be afraid, or that our faith will not be put to the severest of tests. But if we believe that one day the lamb will lay down with the lion; that swords will be beaten into plowshares; that mercy and justice will flow down like the waters; then we must live that belief – we must put peace into action – now.

I know that practicing peace appears impractical. Practicing shalom is not like implementing a public policy that will automatically eliminate conflict. Still, this is the way of Jesus. This is the redemptive purpose of his Incarnation and this Advent season. And this way of peace is the very kingdom of God.

In the end, Longfellow knew this too. After lifting his head from the deep despair of a morally bankrupt world, he wrote a superb, often ignored line: “Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: ‘God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;’ The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail, with peace on earth, goodwill to men.” And yes, may that peace begin with me.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author. His newest book is “The Gospel According to Waffle House.” You can read more at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.

Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
1 DOW 17,672.60
-141.38 (-0.79%)    
2 S&P 2,051.82
-11.33 (-0.55%)    
3 NASDAQ 4,757.88
+7.48 (0.16%)    
2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

Most Read This Week

January 18, 2015 9436

Cholesterol Levels May Not Have Same Relationship…

in Top News For All Sites by SurfKY News
January 19, 2015 8502

Two-Year-Old Child Dies after Being Struck by…

in Top News For All Sites by Paul Ray
January 19, 2015 8381

UPDATE - Lady Mustangs Fall to South Warren

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Steve LeMaster
January 22, 2015 6648

Nortonville Man Accused of Selling Drugs near…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Jail
January 19, 2015 6523

Muhlenberg Board of Education Special Called…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Sherri Miller
January 23, 2015 6366

Local Church's Faith Restored; 71 Souls Saved…

in Top News For All Sites by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
January 20, 2015 6230

Bridal, Prom, Pageant Expo Planned for February…

in Hopkins News by Dana Brown
January 18, 2015 5681

KSP Investigating Officer Involved Shooting In…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Trooper S. C. Recke

Most Read This Month

January 08, 2015 20165

Woman Claiming to be 'Lady Gaga' Tours Town in…

in Top News For All Sites by Madisonville Police Department
January 15, 2015 19725

UPDATE: Fatality Victim's Name Officially Released

in Top News For All Sites by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Today

January 23, 2015 6366

Local Church's Faith Restored; 71 Souls Saved…

in Top News For All Sites by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
January 23, 2015 5068

Parents Face Charges after Marijuana Joint Falls…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Jail
January 23, 2015 3671

Nortonville Woman Charged for Meth Possession

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office/Hopkins County Detention Center
January 23, 2015 2319

Woman Injured When Vehicle Leaves Road, Strikes…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper S.C. Recke
January 23, 2015 2317

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Jan. 23, 2015

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
January 23, 2015 2131

Free Ballroom Dance Lessons Begin

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
January 23, 2015 1983

Hopkins County Sheriff's Reports Released

in Hopkins News by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office
January 23, 2015 1837

Next School Board Meeting Moved in Anticipation…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Muhlenberg County Board of Education
January 23, 2015 1833

Accused Ferrell’s Robber Moves from Hospital to…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
January 23, 2015 1714

Senator Wendell Ford to Lie in State in Capitol…

in Top News For All Sites by Office of the Governor
January 23, 2015 1179

Morganfield Man Arrested on Charges Related to…

in Local (Webster) Top News by Trooper S. C. Recke
January 23, 2015 1126

Madisonville Fire Reports – Jan. 23, 2015

in Hopkins News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News