The shalom that the psalmist seeks is communal and universal. While Jerusalem has often been understood as a sign of the unique privilege of one nation, the vision of the Hebrew prophets and the writer of Revelation is that this holy place might be the center of God’s redemption for all peoples. More than a city, Jerusalem represents the hope that one day the Lord will reign among us transforming hate into love, violence into peace, and wounds into health.
The psalmist’s hope is not just in what God might do in the future; it is also a commitment to keep the hope of shalom alive by praying, speaking, and acting today. I will say, “Peace be within you.”… I will seek your good (vv. 8, 9).
This was also the commitment of St. Valentine, the third-century
bishop who was imprisoned for marrying Christian couples and executed for sharing his faith with the emperor. Somehow his longing for connection to God connected him to others. Somehow his personal desire for God’s peace and wholeness grew into a desire to join God in creating peace and wholeness in the world. St. Valentine knew that whenever he sought the good of his city, he did so for the sake of the Lord. He desired this communal good over his own good, even to the point of death.
May we go and do likewise.
How will you seek the good of your city today?
God, let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. Amen.