Chapter 6 on passing the peace was written for me this week. I resonate with the feeling of losing one’s cool with a loved one, as it was something that happened with one of my siblings after church this past Sabbath. It feels odd for me to say this out loud and publicly, as I spend much of my time mentoring young families and couples to find peace in their relationships. And yet here I was on a Saturday night being unable to extend peace towards my sibling.
Ann Lamont is correct in that we have to practice reconciliation with the people closest to us before we go out into the world trying to share good news. This sounds great in theory, but the practice of it is much more difficult. For me this week, I think passing the peace was hard because I would have to admit that in one way or another I could be wrong, and that never feels good. Passing the peace isa vulnerable gesture that requires me to dig deep and remember that the person standing across from me is my neighbor—and they, like me, are broken and in need of just as much healing in their life as I do in mine.
This weekend was a hard one for me both to feel that peace and to extend that peace. I would love to say that our conflict was resolved and that my sibling and I are at peace again, but that is not true. When Tish talks about the everyday work of shalom being a practice, it means that you don’t always get it right on the first try or after a quarrel or whatever it is. In my case, my sibling and I have differing opinions, and it doesn’t look as if either of us is going to be subscribing to the other’s opinion anytime soon.
It struck me this weekend after reading chapter 6 that—as simple as a seems—I don’t need to believe in all the things my sibling believes in order for there to be peace among us. I am still able to agree with her that we love each other. We can find words, even in our disagreements, that are not hateful or hurtful.
It’s humbling to think that I often walk around with a different way of doing life from the way that Jesus did life. If he walked around with me today, for a day in the life of Bev, I am not sure Jesus would be on board with all the ways I live out life (I can’t imagine Jesus liking butter in his coffee the way I do)—and yet I know that at the end of the day Jesus would look at me and say I am his and that his love is forever woven into all the parts of my being. When I remember Jesus’ capacity to love me through and through, I am humbled at the opportunity every day to try to share this sacred thing called Shalom. Peace. And like Tish reminds us in this chapter, the world needs me to struggle towards shalom. I need the world to struggle towards shalom. We all need the everyday struggle and work of shalom.