‘Peace be with you!’ the psalmist says. It’s a common greeting in the Bible and anywhere Hebrew is spoken. I like the idea of someone wanting me to have a peaceful heart, to feel peaceful inside. But in the psalm’s original language of Hebrew, it’s not “peace” but “shalom.”
Shalom in Hebrew means more than a nice peaceful feeling and more than a lack of conflict or fighting. When someone greets us with shalom they’re offering us a blessing: a prayer for health and wholeness of body, mind and soul, and healthy, happy relationships.
When we share “the peace of Christ” during worship Sunday morning, it’s based on that ancient greeting. The life-giving peace that Jesus offers and that we offer each other, is exactly the same.
So Sunday morning, when you share the peace, think about that, your handshake and words are a prayer for God’s grace to bring complete health and wholeness to that person. How truly awesome!
God of life, we pray that you would breathe shalom into our hearts and into our communities of faith. Help us to share the blessing of shalom with one another. In Jesus' name. Amen. — AK