“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways.”
- 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NRSV)
In Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, he ends his correspondence by asking that the Lord grant them peace. Paul is not only talking about the inner peace one may feel when they believe that all is right between themselves and God, but he specifically asks God to grant them peace at all times and in all ways. But just how many ways can there be peace among the Thessalonians? There is of course peace within themselves and peace within the community, but Paul is talking about more than just quiet in this passage. There is a deeper and more meaningful peace which Paul is proclaiming here, and this peace can only come directly from God. The scope of this peace is important. “Peace in all ways” is not just passive agreement; it is intentional action towards harmonizing with God, loving our enemies, understanding the parts of ourselves that we may not like, and properly stewarding the resources which God has granted us.
How many ways can there be peace in our world today? One may experience inner peace when they are in the right relationship with God and others. This type of peace is valid and important. Yet, there is also a deep need for peace in other ways — ways that appeal to the peace of all who inhabit this planet. Peace that could allow plants, animals, and humans to live in harmony with one another. Peace that could allow our planet to be healthy and not be starved of its resources. Peace that could allow people of all nations and ethnicities to love and respect one another. So, what does peace look like for you and your community? What about those who may not be a part of your community? How is God calling us to work towards this peace that endures in all times and in all ways? We encourage you to discuss this with your community and seek after God’s peace “at all times and in all ways.”
By Jen Houser, Church and Community Groups Organizing Intern