Pray for the peace of Jerusalem (v. 6a). Jerusalem is significant. In this land, holy to three great world religions, pilgrims walk alongside those whose families have lived there for generations to visit holy sites where they feel close to God. Imagine walking where Jesus walked.
Throughout Jerusalem, you see the word “Shalom,” meaning peace. This Hebrew word means much more than the absence of conflict; it signifies a presence, something added to our fragmented lives to make them complete. During my visits to Israel, I often saw the English word “Peace” written beside the Hebrew word “Shalom” and the Arabic “Salam.” I find this beautiful—the same prayer offered in three great languages.
In whatever way you say the word, the psalmist encourages us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. In light of all the discord and division in our world, the dream of peace is still a cry that should echo in our prayers daily. Jesus wanted to embrace Jerusalem with peace so long ago, and his death and resurrection there showed the way of the peace God offers everyone. There is no enmity between us and God. We are at peace.
God calls us to work for peace in whatever city or town we find ourselves in. The world longs for deep peace and wholeness for all people and all creation. God is at peace with us, even if we don’t realize it. God also calls us to be at peace with the world around us. This psalm is a song of joy, of gathering, for all who want to find peace. We are pilgrims in this world. We deserve and need the Shalom, the Salam, the Peace that has filled the prayers of generations.
How do you define peace? In what ways can you work with God to create a more peace-filled world?
Lord, grant me peace in this moment of my life and help me to pray and work for the peace of all in your world, including Jerusalem. Amen.