In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to me, “Flee like a bird to the mountains.” Psalm 11:1  

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” John 14:27 

Pax vobiscum, shalom aleichem, as-salaam alaykum, Peace be with you. This is a common greeting in the Mediterranean world, Latin, Hebrew, or Arabic. It is a phrase we are very familiar with as it occurs often in the Bible and in our liturgy. The early Christians used the phrase to greet each other. Looking up the background and meaning of peace as used in this phrase, I found a reference to the original Greek word, “Eirene” meaning peace. Eirene refers to a “very particular kind of peace that is the product of a proper administration of both justice and goods.” It is also associated with springtime, “eiarinos” in Greek.  

In Psalm 11, a psalm attributed to David, he is proclaiming the protection he has from God. The people are not quite so sure about this, and are worried about attacks from enemies, they want him to flee. But David know that the Lord is in control and is a place of refuge for all of them. Similarly, the Lord is our refuge, Jesus tells us to not let our hearts be troubled, and that we should not be afraid. His peace is so much more than what we think of as peace in the world. Peace is more than the absence of war or conflict. The peace that Jesus left with the disciples and all His followers is not what we see in the world. It is much more than a “Hey, I hope your find some peace.” It is fairness, sharing with all, justice for all.  

Harmony and peace are not just something to hope for, but something that needs some effort on our part. This can be difficult, but we are assured that Jesus, the Prince of Peace is present with us and will fulfill all His promises. We don’t have to this all on our own.  

Peace be with you. 

Prince of Peace, within the chaos and turmoil of our lives, guide us to your presence. Fill us with shalom that only comes from you.  When we are afraid, troubled, or anxious, draw us into the shelter of your presence. With you we find strength, peace, and the confidence to face the present and the future. Guide us in sharing your peace, one of fairness and justice, with all. In Jesus’ name,  Amen.

Chris Gabel