The biblical vision of Shalom is much larger and all-encompassing than simply the absence of war or conflict that might come to mind when we say “peace”. I love some of the phrases Noel Moules came up with to try and get a sense of what the word shalom is getting at. “Extravagant sufficiency” or “Integrated diversity” or “Energized wholeness”.
What would your phrase be if you tried to define what shalom would look like in your own life? What is your greatest hope or need that you desire to see fulfilled?
Matthew 5:9, 13-16
When you envision “peace-making”, what actions come to mind? Is there a peacemaker you have known or been impacted by in your life?
How have you come to understand what it means to “fear the Lord”? How does that understanding help or hinder your seeking and pursuing of peace?
I Peter 3:8-11
Have you ever suffered for seeking peace or doing good? Have you known someone who has? How does the potential of “push-back” or suffering affect our willingness to actively seek peace or work for shalom?
What are actual steps we could take, as the church today, to live our lives in a way that would elicit “awe and wonder” from people encountering us? What would bring us into good favor with the people around us?