I was thinking along the same lines, but was so struck by the fragile peace struck in Jerusalem in "Kingdom of Heaven" and the respect that the leaders shared between the Saracens the Crusaders--and I mean the peacemakers on each side, not the war-mongers!
For me it has come down to the processing I have done with my children this week concerning shalom as a form of completeness. We talked about the fact that our home cannot have true shalom unless all five of us are at peace--with ourselves and with each other. We're still processing this, but it looks like having enough respect for each other that we can be quiet when quiet is needed by someone, be tranquil within ourselves, and be content with our circumstances. Buoyed by this shalom at home, we are better equipped to spread shalom to our neighbors and larger communities.
This is shedding some light on the truth of "love your neighbor as yourself" for me, as well.
Prince of Peace, indeed! May his Kingdom increase and all his subjects be utterly loyal....
One of the ways that we honor the reign of the Prince of Peace is when we love our enemies. This is a very difficult concept to actually practice... as in the movie about the Crusades... but I think that we could at least take it to heart within the Body of Christ... and I mean all shapes and colors of those who call Christ Lord.
As I talked with my boys about shalom in our home being an image of complete peace and how we each had a responsibility for keeping the peace, as it were, it is striking to me that there is a continual need to respect each other, to forgive each other, to help each other... and so we begin the long list of the "one anothers" in the New Testament. The allelon of shalom.
Which, of course, is why the community of the believers, the Body of Christ, is so vitally important to the advance of the Kingdom. Yes, it is important that each of us accept the invitation to join the New Covenant in Jesus Christ. But that is just the beginning! Too often we stop there and keep "faith" as something "personal--between me and Jesus." But this is the shame of the church in our times, this individualism that does not discern the Body of Christ to which it belongs. And we are all experiencing the resultant isolation and stunted growth. Not just from the rest of the world, the world to which we have been called to share the Gospel, but from each other.
It is in the living of the allelon of shalom that the world sees the glory of God... that we shine our lights in the darkness. It is in the respect for each other out of reverence for Christ, the preferring of one another in humble submission, that compels us to be quiet or to be tranquil or to be content in whatever circumstances we find ourselves... so that there may be shalom in Christ's Body. Then, the light that is Jesus will be able to shine forth from his Body to dispel the darkness in a world in search of shalom.
So, how long will we continue to hide, huddled with our tiny lights under our bushels? I see a world full of bushel baskets of every color, shape and material... and they hold the Light of the World hostage.
Lord, have mercy... perhaps it is time to set the bushels on fire, like the Beacons of Gondor that sounded the call for aid, racing from peak to peak across the great mountains to kindle the hearts of long-suspicious and alienated allies to fulfill ancient oaths of loyalty fallen into decay. How would Theoden King respond? "Gondor has called for aid. And Rohan will answer! Muster the Rohirrim!"
I can hear their battle cry as they race down the hills--to the amazement of their friends and the unexpected horror of their foes: "Ride now! Ride now! Ride to Gondor!" Brings tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat.
Would that there were a few more valiant riders willing to follow their Lord, riding to the aid of their allies, unified in the battle against the Enemy...all other disputes set aside, willing to lay down their lives for their friends.