The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Go in peace

experience the shalom of God

Twice each Sunday in our communion service we are reminded of the importance of peace. First we pass the peace of Christ to one another. Then we are sent forth into the world with the words: “Go in peace. Serve the Lord.” Or “Go in peace. Remember the poor. ... Share the good news. ... Christ is with you.” At the heart of these actions is the hope that each of us might experience the depth of biblical shalom and then pass it on.

Boot printShalom begins personally with a sense of well-being, personal health or, more deeply, personal wholeness. In our culture we often seek to attain such peace and wholeness by looking within, through meditation or centering, or even contemplative prayer and solitude. Such activities can be genuinely fulfilling.

But in Scripture the wholeness of shalom comes from outside rather than inside. Shalom can never be separated from or attained apart from relationships: with God, with the poor, with the other, with the community in which one lives, with Christ.

When individuals in the Bible send each other off, much as we do each Sunday with the words “Go in peace,” the context implies that true peace is centered in the promise that God will be with the one who is sent.

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