28 July 2020
A Moment to Reflect – 73
“We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace.”—William Ewart Gladstone
During my short stay at St Deiniol’s Library, I came across this interesting stone in the churchyard of St. Deiniol’s Church, next door to the library.
When I first saw it I actually mis-read it as “The Place of God.”
It seemed to me to be a fairly accurate summary of what many people nowadays think and feel. God’s place is consigned to the graveyard!
It can be true in two different senses: firstly in the sense that the only time some people think about God at all is when they are confronted by the end of their own life or the life of someone they care about, and secondly (and perhaps even more common) is the notion that God himself is dead and faith in God is nothing but a foolish delusion. Many people are happy therefore to wish that God will “Rest in Peace” and that those who still go on talking about God will give it a rest. (“Gie us peace!” being their watchword.)
I think for me part of the problem lies in the way that the words “peace” and “quiet” have become associated with each other.
We need a much more robust and lively understanding of what peace is.
It is not just the absence of war, or conflict, or even of hassle.
It is not just about having some space or time out of the busyness of living.
In other words, it is not the peace of the graveyard.
I much prefer the Biblical/Hebrew concept of “shalom” which (brilliantly) can be used as a noun, as a verb or as an adjective, as well as being the means of saying ‘hello’ or goodbye.’
Peace is something you do, as well as something you can have and a quality that can permeate anything.
This is a positive, muscular, heavy-duty kind of peace that is life-affirming and life-enhancing. It is about things not being broken or wounded or incomplete but being mended, healed and made good and whole. It’s about fulfilment and engagement: not escape. I wish you all the Peace of God.