Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Keeping the Faith — Shalom (Third Week of Advent)

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 2014 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.

Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

In Other News...

Murray-Calloway County Hospital Wellness Works to Offer Free Screenings in October

MURRAY, Ky. (10/1/14) — Murray-Calloway County Hospital’s Wellness Works program will be offering free community health… Read More

Dawson Springs Police Reports Released

DAWSON SPRINGS, Ky. (9/30/14) ― The Dawson Springs Police Department released the following reports Sunday, Sept. 28.… Read More
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

September 27, 2014 4075

Hopkins County Grand Jury Misdemeanor Indictments

in News by Karen McKnight
September 29, 2014 3647

Endless Road Strings Bring Orchestra Mix to…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
October 01, 2014 3288

Muhlenberg Community Hospital to Host Lighting of…

in Top Stories by Information provided by Erin Warren
September 27, 2014 3108

Sinister on Center Takes Haunted Manor to Whole…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
September 29, 2014 2616

One Injured in Single-Vehicle Collision on…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
September 28, 2014 2505

Community Shows Support to Muhlenberg Humane…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
September 29, 2014 2503

Man, Woman Charged with Violating EPO Against…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 28, 2014 2259

Marching Mustangs Take Third in Ohio Competition

in Top Stories by Information provided by Shawna Hendrix
September 29, 2014 2191

Man Charged with PI, Drugs, After Allegedly…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 27, 2014 2021

Hopkins/Webster Counties Native, Paducah Writer…

in Top Stories by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
September 29, 2014 2014

Traffic Accident on Brown Road

in News by Madisonville Police Department

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

September 29, 2014 2616

One Injured in Single-Vehicle Collision…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
September 29, 2014 2503

Man, Woman Charged with Violating EPO…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 29, 2014 2191

Man Charged with PI, Drugs, After…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 29, 2014 1637

Man Arrested for DUI, Marijuana Possession

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 28, 2014 1443

Angel Garden Dedicated at Baptist…

in Top Stories by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

September 29, 2014 3647

Endless Road Strings Bring Orchestra Mix…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
October 01, 2014 3288

Muhlenberg Community Hospital to Host…

in Top Stories by Information provided by Erin Warren
September 28, 2014 2505

Community Shows Support to Muhlenberg…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
September 28, 2014 2259

Marching Mustangs Take Third in Ohio…

in Top Stories by Information provided by Shawna Hendrix
September 29, 2014 1749

Fourteen Year Old Parker Hastings Wins…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News

SurfKY News Group, Inc. Central Office & Printing Division
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431  •  270.452.2249 (fax)
Main Number: 270.452.2727 (phone)  •  Printing Division Direct Line: 270.821.8600 (phone)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social 03social 04social 22social 21social 06