25th September 2020

Last Sunday was International Peace Day and the UN Assembly is meeting all this week online – but wars still rage in Yemen and Syria… So what is peace for us in this time of uncertainty? Restrictions lifted – joy – then re-imposed – frustration! Joblessness for some, heartache for others as families are once more divided. The temptation to resist and make one’s own rules. Yet Gideon, called by God to the mammoth task of driving out the Midianites, could name his altar ‘the Lord is peace’, and Jesus calmed the storm with ‘Peace! Be still!’

That peace is ‘shalom’, meaning so much more than ‘not fighting’: including contentment, harmony, and wholeness. For Gideon perhaps it meant ‘the Lord is with me and gives me His victory’; for Jesus’ disciples it meant recognising His authority and so their safety. We know our Shalom doesn’t come from outside but wells up in our hearts and minds as we centre ourselves on Jesus and feel His presence within and around us. ‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee’.

May we experience this, especially in our present situation and share it with people around us through God’s shalom in our hearts enabling us to respond with grace, patience and love to whatever happens.

Lesley Fuller