I want peace. My guess is that you do as well. As I study more and more about the world in which the Judeo-Christian scriptures were written, it’s hard not to believe that much of our texts were written with a deep longing for peace in mind. Scripture was written in light of exile, war, occupation, and empire. To think, pray, and hope for peace in this context just makes sense.
I grew up in the 80’s. I have vague memories of the cold war and the threat of nuclear annihilation. I remember a lot of bad theology telling me that war was necessary to achieve peace. I remember thinking that somehow it was God’s desire that certain people had to be destroyed in order for God’s people to be triumphant.
The last decade plus of my life has been spent under the threat of terrorism. Instead of thinking about mass annihilation, the threat has become random acts happening in those very normal places of life; airplanes, public transit, public buildings. Violence has moved from being a global thing to a local thing in my lifetime. Local violence has often been true for many in this country. There are many who live with the threat of local, intimate violence in their lives. They too long for peace.
Peace is a hope because it feels like the world would need to be radically different to see it achieved. What would a world without violence look like? Would I recognize it? Would I even want it? I hope for it because I believe it is what God wants and how I believe we are supposed to live. It seems so distant. So far away.
I want peace. Where do I start?