A traditional Jewish greeting
Which, in Hebrew, means peace or completeness
And for each of you here it's my deepest wish
For Jews use it as a greeting because it is was they want most.
To be free from war. The holy scriptures of Judaism: The Law & the Prophets chronicles a history of war, occupation, and exile.
Whether it was the Roman Empire occupying their homeland, persecution by Christians during the crusades or the genocide of the holocaust... they certainly have reason to desire it. So how do bombs and guns achieve it?
More than a desire or a wish it's a prayer. Prayers for peace ring out around the world but fall on deaf ears. Deafened by greed, ignorance, hate... worst of all.. indifference. Whether it's the war in Afghanistan, civil war in Somalia, the war on drugs, or gang wars.
The world knows little of what it means to live in peace.
Peace be with you
A traditional Christian greeting.
Used by Jesus himself to greet his disciples after raising from the dead.
Once again, more than a trite greeting it was a mission. In a time when professing to be a follower of Jesus meant you could be fed to lions or used as a human torch it would be easy to go on the attack. In a world of hate and jealously (especially amongst the relious elite) we were challenged to be agents of change. Like a lighthouse shining out to warn the ships on the sea Christians are called to be ambassadors of peace. When was the last time you spoke with a so-called Christian and you left with even a semblance of peace?
Whether it's being lonely in a room full of friends, living in poverty in a rich nation like Canada, or abused by the hands of man who should have been protecting you we rarely catch even a glimpse of peace in our lives, let alone experience it.
A traditional Muslim greeting
Which, in Arabic, means "peace be upon you"
We ALL struggle for peace. In fact, Mohammed himself said that the Greater Jihad is the inner struggle we face against ourselves. The fact that we struggle to what is right even when we know what it is.
Couldn't we all use a little more peace?
KRS-One once said that "whether peace by war or peace by peace the reality of peace is scary." I think he was right. Despite being our greatest hope and what we strive to achieve it's the last thing we DO.
Martin Luther King had a dream. The time has come to make it a reality. To put aside our tears and fears. Forgive the debt of vengance owed to you and instead be an ambassador of peace. Experience a little bit of heaven here & now.
So no matter how you say it: Shalom, As-Salamu Alaykum, or whatever... My prayer, for you and for me, is for peace.