A big and great biblical theme; more a result, not a goal, of kingdom life. For example peace is the fruit of relationships of love.
A kingdom life will be a life devoted to peacemaking. Yes, peace includes an inner personal state of mind of tranquility, serenity, calm, contentment flowing from a trust in God. But this is too a restricted view of peace. The biblical word Shalom has a grand scope and, McKnight argues, is intimately connected to justice.
Why? Because the redemptive kingdom vision of Jesus includes people having enough to eat, security from violence, freedom from exploitation and oppression and war. ‘Inner peace’ is a ‘minor’ script. The major one in the kingdom of God is a rightly ordered society shaped by love and justice, characterised by needs met, moral goodness and integrity, and loving relationships with God, Israel, family, other nations and therefore truly ‘at peace’.
Isaiah 60 gives a vision of Shalom; of Israel at she should be, truly at peace. A picture of blessing, praise, integrity, absence of violence, and joy. And Jesus’ preaching of the kingdom picks up Isaiah’s vision and paints new searing images of what a kingdom of God society looks like.
And, as Scot points out in regard to the USA but any society will do, this world is deeply broken. Peace and justice are rare indeed. Injustice and violence, starvation and oppression, greed and inequality, broken relationships and racism, alienation and fear – these characterise the lives of the majority of the world’s population.
So to questions:
Scot asks ‘How Jewish is your view of peace?’
Jesus calls, his followers to follow – it ain’t an optional extra. What are good examples you know of building peace and promoting God’s justice?