“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3)
The 20th century could be described as a desperate search for peace. World War I was called “the war to end all wars,” but soon a second, bigger World War followed. In the 1960s flower children stuffed carnations into soldiers’ gun barrels while protesting “peace, peace.” In the 1970s youths gave up their militancy and sought peace in inner feelings. In the 1980s and ’90s the cry was “peace through prosperity.” Yuppies chased after peace by accumulating wealth and pursuing upward mobility. But now in the 21st century most people simply do not know where to look to find the peace they crave.
Only when the Holy Spirit comes into our lives will we discover true peace. The biblical term for peace is shalom, a greeting still used in the Middle East today. Shalom refers to a blessing that includes peace with God, personal happiness and flourishing, reconciled relationships, and harmony in society. And Jesus has made all this possible through his life, death, and resurrection for our sake.
The peace of the Spirit also opens our eyes to injustice and urges us to work against racism, police brutality, and the ravages of COVID-19. Just as fallen humans wage war with all of their ability and tenacity, Christians wage peace with similar vigor and strategy. When we live in the Spirit, we maintain our unity in Christ through the bond of peace that he bought for us.
Spirit of God, thank you for giving us your peace. Make us peacemakers in your world today for Jesus’ sake. Amen.