‘If only you knew the things that would make for your peace’. These words have been haunting me over the last few days. They are what Jesus said as he wept over Jerusalem when approaching the city for the last time. He longed for his people to be at peace with themselves, their calling, with God and with life. The Hebrew notion of peace fascinates me. It is a blessing given from the start of the Judeo-Christian narrative throughout history to today, but the meaning has been somewhat lost in translation. Shalom (the Hebrew word for Peace) is a word picture of God’s dream and purpose to restore humanity and all creation to his original design … and more. It means everything coming into its rightful place the way God intended. It is about the Kingdom of God, that reality where God’s will is being done, its about him making all things new. Its about wholeness and life and healing and reconciliation, Joy and restoration, redemption, grace and right relationship with others, oneself, God and the created world. Shalom.
‘If only you knew the things that would make for your peace.’ There are paradigms that I have that take me away from God’s purposes, his good and perfect will that effects not only myself but those around me; and there is a paradigm and perspective that enables me to see things through his eyes and understand the world in his light and make choices from there. Both John the Baptist and Jesus called the people to have a ‘metanoia’, to change their paradigm and perspective so that they could recognise the Kingdom of God, in other words God doing stuff his way in their midst. They had been waiting for the unfolding of Gods plans for centuries, the danger was that now that things were moving, they would miss it because they were looking with blinded eyes… they needed to have a metanoia, a changed perspective. (the word in Christianese is ‘repent’).
However, Jesus said those words to a city, a community, a society; not to individuals. I look at Britain today and I hear his words – if only our nation knew the things….. but wait, we do! We have been there before. We do know the things that would make for our Peace, its just that we have forgotten and lost our way. Centuries before Jesus spoke these words, God sent a message to his people in exile instructing them to ‘seek for, pray for and work for the peace of the place where I have sent you’. I believe those orders are still standing orders for us today. Our job is to help our nation re-discover its God given purpose to live and chose and lead in the world according to his design; that is with justice, kindness, mercy, honour and compassion; caring for and defending the poor, the orphans, the widows and the refugees. We need to turn the hearts of this generation to our past redemptive heritage, inspire them to stand with courage for the things that goodness demands of us today… for the sake of the generations to come, so that they in turn can live those things that would make for their Peace.
Come on, its time to change the world.