When we turn to each other a say “The peace of Christ be with you” we don’t think it’s a magical formula that will wipe away every last bit of unhappiness or irritation and keep it that way. But we do think it has meaning.
What did Jesus himself mean when he said it? “My peace be with you” “My peace I leave you.” “Go in peace”.
The peace that Jesus talks about is the Hebrew shalom. God’s shalom is all-encompassing. It’s the peace of all things. Wholeness. Wholeness rooted in knowing God loves us and all people and intends good for us and all people. It’s a peace that lasts because it has confidence in God’s plans for us and for all people. It’s a peace beyond circumstance.
What’s the difference between a passing or circumstantial peace and this peace of shalom?
When things are stressed in one’s home or heart and we are asked how we are doing, we might say “It’s all good”. We are trying to be confident that we are in control, we are keeping up appearances and soldiering on.
Compare “It’s all good” to “All shall be well.”
Those are words spoken by Julian of Norwich in the Christian mystic in the 14th century. “All shall be well, all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well,” she wrote.
“All shall be well” expresses a deep conviction that no matter what happens on a daily basis we are part of a lasting peace that cannot be destroyed. It’s a peace from which not to just get through the day, but to get through life. It’s a peace that knows our deep connection to everything that God has created and everyone that Christ welcomes and believes that God wants what is good for us and all God’s children.
When we receive the peace of Christ, we do not become people without problems – but people who can handle and live through our problems because we know we are valued and supported. When we receive the peace of Christ, we know we can do the same for others. Together we can live the fullness of life that God intends. All shall be well, all shall be well and all manner of us shall be well.