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Seeds of the Kingdom

Shalom

by Richard Griffiths

Jesus said: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27, NIV

Sometimes, as we walk by the River South Tyne, we pass a still, sheltered spot. It’s so attractive in the sunlight, and we just stop to drink the scene in. It’s scenes like these that so often speak to me of my Heavenly Father’s amazing peace. Hebrew has a beautiful word for it – shalom.

So still!
Unruffled calm
Hidden depth reflecting sky’s expanse
Shalom


From time to time we see goosanders there. They are very pretty diving ducks. They appear to hardly move, and dive without leaving a ripple. They seem so much part of the river. The river is the goosanders’ ‘element’, where they are most at home.

So still!
Effortlessly supported
On water’s lucid liquidity
Lithe-looping into your element
Shalom


Where do we feel ‘most at home’? Peter calls the Christians to whom he wrote his letter, ‘foreigners and exiles’ (1 Peter 2:11). Where they lived, and its values and culture, wasn’t their true home – they were out of their ‘element’. As we might say, they were like ‘ducks out of water’. And it is for this reason that we can so easily lose our peace. We live in a world whose values jar against what we know should be ours. The temptation to compromise sometimes seems overwhelming.

The goosanders are so good at finding that calm spot, out of the strong, rather turbulent current of the river. In Isaiah 48:18, God offers ‘peace like a river’. It’s in the presence of our loving Father, even in the middle of all the turbulence of the challenging world in which we live, that we find our shalom.

The unruffled calmness of Your voice
Says ‘Come’
The gentle lapping ripples of Your love
Invite me in
‘Come to my love’s embrace
Your element
Your Shalom’


Whatever the circumstances and challenges of today, there’s always that invitation. How will you respond?

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your loving invitation to find true peace of heart in Your presence. I now come to You with all my fears and insecurities; all the circumstances that make me feel disturbed inside. I declare that You are my peace, my shalom. I praise You that You welcome me and promise to hold me fast. Amen.

Richard Griffiths When Richard retired from full-time Anglican ministry in Chichester in 2009, he and his wife, Sue, moved to Northumberland. He joined the ministry team at Ellel Grange in 2011, where he and Sue regularly ministered at healing retreats. They are now helping on the "Explore" team. They greatly enjoy walking their Golden Retriever dog in the beautiful Northumberland countryside and along the coast. Richard loves seeing God bringing people into a strong personal relationship with Him as their Father and the healing that comes with it.

 

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