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Read:  Psalm 133:1  (NIRV)

                  “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in peace!”

Most of you know that I am BIG on the Biblical concept of “shalom”.  The word, Shalom, occurs in the Old Testament, and is translated as the English word “peace”. You’ve probably also heard me teach that “Shalom” means more than just peace.  Shalom means health, wholeness, and harmony.  Shalom times are good times; shalom moments are golden days.  If you find yourself in such a moment –rejoice in your heart.  Say silent prayer of gratitude to God; I’ve found that to be so helpful.

Conversely, have you ever been at a gathering where you thought conflict might break out?  It happens.  As a pastor we sometimes see it, or hear of it, as families gather in high stress times.  Have you ever been to a wedding where you weren’t sure if everyone would keep the peace?  Or a funeral?  It can and does happen.

Two brothers co-managed a huge family farm that was in deep financial trouble.  One brother tried to save it by “rolling the dice” at a casino.  He took farm money, and he lost big; it bankrupted the family farm.  It caused deep division between the two brothers and their sons.  Blame was cast across the generations, and the strife took root and grew for years. The whole community knew of the conflict.

Hope came with a grandson’s wedding.  The side of the family that had shunned Grandma, (the elderly mother of the two brothers and family matriarch) invited her to the wedding.  Grandma was a wonderful woman and a pillar of her church.  With great excitement she went out and bought a new dress for the wedding; everyone knew how happy she was to be invited to the wedding of her grandson.  When the day came and grandma arrived at the church for the wedding, the groom’s brothers, who were ushers, refused to allow grandma into the church.  They told her that it was a mistake that she had been invited, and that she wasn’t welcome.  I didn’t witness the confrontation, but I sure heard about it. How incredibly sad.  “Hurt people, hurt people”, but it doesn’t make it right.

In the sermon on the mount our Lord preached, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God”  (Matthew 5:9).  Peace is what honors God.

Shalom,

Pastor Rob Nystrom