This Sunday we observe Remembrance Sunday – a chance to look back, remember, honour, give thanks. But at a time when our headlines are dominated by the horrors of war and fighting, we are reminded that it is also a time to seek peace. Last week in Oxford a vigil for peace was held, and faith and civic leaders united to call for peace in the Middle East. Among those who spoke were our own Bishop Steven, Imam Monawar Hussain and Louise Gordon vice president of the Oxford Jewish Congregation. What a special thing to witness, as faith leaders come together, joined by many hundreds of people, united in their pursuit of peace. The Hebrew word for peace, which we find in the Old Testament, is Shalom. But this word goes so much deeper than our translation suggests. Shalom is not simply an absence of war or fighting; nor is it simply sense of tranquillity or calm, peace is also about human flourishing, about a life well lived, about – as Jesus would say – ‘fullness of life’ (John 10:10). Bishop Steven reflected this week on peace, “Shalom is a shorthand for the whole vision of the kingdom of God: a world where God’s will is done on earth as in heaven. Shalom is what we pray for each time we say the Lord’s Prayer”. So this weekend I encourage you not only to pause and remember, but also to pray for Shalom – to pray for peace in our world, in our relationships, in our communities, for peace in our hearts. Peace be with you.
Revd Hannah Higginson