Hohou Rongo, make peace.
“Who brings about peace is called the companion of God in the work of creation.”Jewish saying
What it is
After the tragic shootings in the Christchurch mosques, many New Zealanders learned the Muslim greeting, Salaam aleikum, which means “peace be with you.” “Salaam” is related to “shalom”, the Jewish and biblical word for “peace”. Shalom describes a state in which everything and everyone is in right relationship to everything and everyone else. It pictures a world “in harmony”. It is, then, much more active than a feeling alone. Bringing about peace, hohou rongo, involves creating justice and reconciliation between people, but also encompasses our relationship with other creatures and creation as a whole.
What it is not
Peace is not the same as quietness, although quietness can help in nurturing peace because of the space it provides for thinking and getting things into perspective. Someone may experience peace in a noisy situation when that situation is joyful and there are no relationships obviously “out of sync”.
Similarly, the peace envisaged in the Bible is more than the result of psychological exercises to calm your mind. While it is important to “be at peace with yourself”, peace, being relational, cannot be completely self-absorbed but must involve relationships with others.
What makes this a Christian value?
- Christians believe that peace with each other and with the world grows from peace with God. The restless searching and uncertainty that humanity feels apart from God is met in Christ who came to bring “peace on earth”. The inner peace that provides is the strength and driver we need to seek peace with others and our world.
- The Jewish and Christian vision of history is one which ends in shalom, peace. Old Testament visions are of the lion and lamb lying down together and the child playing safely over the nest of a viper. The New Testament vision is of a time when every tear shall be wiped away and we will live with God as our light and life. This is God’s Kingdom come on earth, and it is what we pray for each time we say the Lord’s Prayer. It is also, therefore, something we are to work towards.
- Christian peace, then, starts with our experience of peace as a gift, a grace, from God, which, like everything we are given freely from God, is also something we are to pass on to others. Peace is the thing we strive for, as we pray for God’s Kingdom. Finally, peace grows from our hope and the promise of God.