[Jesus] stood among them and said to them, ‘Shalom be with you.’ ~ Luke 24:36
God of creation and creativity, you’ve given us the gift of language and communication so that we might speak of and learn about you, however feeble our understanding might be. We often take the gift of words for granted, forgetting the deep richness of meaning in the words you speak to us. Remind us especially today and always of the meaning of Jesus’ words to his disciples and to us: “Shalom be with you.”
Remind us that the shalom of God means a commitment to peace for all people. Bring calm and reason to world leaders who threaten one another economically, politically, and militarily, especially in Russia, China, and the United States of America. Send people of good faith and compassion to negotiate healing and peace in places of long-lasting and complicated conflict like Syria, Palestine, Myanmar, Central African Republic, South Sudan, and so many other countries around the world where your children continue to suffer.
Remind us that the shalom of God means a commitment to justice for all people. Send your shalom to all governments leaders who are committed to improving lives and working for the prosperity of all. Make us aware of the fragility of our human hearts, so that we can guard against further instances of corruption like those currently playing out in South Africa and Brazil, where key government leaders have been charged or convicted. Remind us of our own role in creating communities of equality, where all people can live in safety and wholeness.
Remind us that the shalom of God means a commitment to health for all people. Bring healing to all who suffer illness in mind, body, and spirit. We pray especially for those who have been abused like Yoshitane Yamasaki, a man in Japan who was kept in a cage by his father for 20 years, and childless women in Guinea, where a scammer sold harmful herbs that made the women’s stomachs swell and told them that they had become pregnant. We pray also for the grieving families of the children who died in a bus crash in Himachal Pradesh, India.
Remind us that the shalom of God means a commitment to wholeness for all people. Embolden us to fight for change as we remember the empty and broken feelings of those who have lost loved ones to violence: the families of students killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, USA; the families of those killed and injured in Muenster, Germany, when a van drove into a crowd; and the families of those who mourn the senseless deaths of people they love due to gun violence, terrorism, and hate.
Remind us that the shalom of God means a commitment to safety for all people. Fill us with compassion for people who live in danger every day in Douma, Syria, where gas attacks threaten lives, and in Offa, Nigeria, where violent robberies have become routine.
Remind us that the shalom of God means a commitment to your future kingdom in all its fullness. Give us the boldness to pray as you taught us, “Thy kingdom come,” and then to act on that prayer, working for peace where there is war, justice where there is need, health where there is illness, wholeness where there is loss, and safety where there is fear and danger. Fill us with your shalom, so that we can carry your message of hope, love, and joy to the ends of the earth.