Shalom, shalom, but there is no Shalom…

Today is supposed to be a Quaker protest day for peace according to someone’s blog. I will go along with that. Every day should be a protest day for peace.

“Shalom” is a Hebrew word that means more than “peace” in the English sense. It means completion, wholeness, health, balance. So when the prophet complains that the leaders keep saying, “Enjoy the peace,” they are still not practicing shalom because there is no wholeness, no health for all members of society.

That is certainly true today, this day. We have no peace, no shalom. We have broken our only planet badly and we are dithering around, blaming others, pretending it ain’t so, making excuses, shrugging it off. We have made war on the earth itself and war across the earth. We are fighting for wealth and privilege. And that will not stop until we admit we are wrong and turn to the Lord for help. We can’t fix it by ourselves, and we may be past fixing it at all.

The Anglican Pacifist Fellowship has made the point in this Lambeth year (that’s a big meeting of all Anglican bishops once every decade) that since 1930 the Anglican bishops of the world have made resolutions for peace, and then stood aside while the governments went ahead with warmongering. They lay out the proof quite reasonably; it would be hard to refute it. There is no Shalom. The Jubilee declared by our Lord is violated. It is our fault, our own fault, our own most grievous fault.

As we gather on First Day for worship, prayer, and communion, perhaps we need to prepare our hearts with confession, not just of personal sin, but of the corporate sin we tolerate from our governments. We need to pray: “Lord, forgive us our hard-heartedness, our lack of compassion, our willful ignorance of the needs of the poor. Forgive us for giving permission for war. Help us to end all war, defeat poverty, and nurture your children. Help us to restore creation, so that when thou dost return, we will be found to be worthy stewards.”

Confess, repent, be made whole. Thee has a responsibility for shalom, even if it is only the shalom of thy heart.


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