"Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you." -Luke 10:5-6
In Luke 10, Jesus tells the seventy to first offer peace to the Samaritan villages where he has sent them to remain. I wonder if the Spirit has also used the Covid-19 pandemic to send us to remain with our neighbors and share peace. After all, peace is one of the gifts of Christmas celebrated in this Advent season: Jesus is the Prince of Peace.
Speaking peace was a common greeting in the ancient Middle Eastern culture as it still is today in many places. In North America, however, our simple "hellos" seem to lack the same warm intention. I wonder what would happen if Christ followers began to greet others with peace.
But then, as now, sharing peace might require more than just a friendly gesture. Jesus is instructing his followers to announce Shalom to the marginalized and shunned Samaritans. In his book Missional: Joining God in the Neighborhood, Alan J Roxburgh writes that Shalom is a declaration of “the promise of Jubilee and the rule of God among [us].” It’s a proclamation of God’s Kingdom! God’s Kingdom come!
As such it might be interpreted as a direct challenge to the PAX peace that the Roman rulers of Jesus’ day, secured by war, violence, cruelty, power, and control. They kept peace with the end of a sword! Unfortunately still today there are rulers, and those who want to be rulers, who do the same.
But Jesus models, teaches, and embodies another way to peace—and another kind of peace. Sharing Shalom peace might not be as peaceful as it seems. In fact, it was a direct challenge to the Roman rule of dictatorship, oppression, and injustice, and as such, risky, and dangerous business—so much that it led the Prince of Peace to the cross.
In Luke 10's account, the seventy come back rejoicing (verse 17)! God uses their experience of working alongside and sitting at the table of the other to show them that the Spirit is out ahead of them and at work in their neighbors—Samaritan, as they may be.
So I’m wondering, how will we share Shalom, the peace of Christmas, with our neighbors—"Samaritan" as we think they may be—this season?
Written by Karen Wilk, a Go Local catalyzer with Resonate Global Mission. Go Local is an opportunity to learn with others as we seek to discover and join the Holy Spirit on God's mission right in our own neighborhoods. Learn more at www.resonateglobalmission.org/go-local