Peace

Pax vobiscum.  As-salamu AlaikumShalom.  Shanti.  Aloha.  Peace be with you. . . .

It’s interesting how most faith traditions include a blessing to others — extending peace.  And asking for peace in return.   In my church, there is a time when we share the peace.  Peace – be with you.  And also with you.  

The Prince of Peace has been around for 3,000 years (Isaiah 9:6).  Plato encouraged moderation and a sense of limits that bring peace.   There is a Nobel Peace Prize.  There’s a peace symbol.  The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 was to end the war of all wars.  There’s a Peace Corps and the United Nations has “peacekeeping” missions.   

With all the peace being promoted around the world, you would think that peace would be bubbling over.  But no.  Families suffer discord.  As do school boards.  City councils.  Communities.  Counties.  States.  Washington D.C.  Other countries.  The world.   Pain.  Anger.  Hatred.  Violence.  Discord.  Just how serious are we about being peaceful?  Seems like everyone wants peace.  But nobody wants to give it.  Peace is like a bridge.  It’s always been under construction.  But it hasn’t been completed in several millennium.  

So – what’s the answer?  That’s the 64 dollar question.  Perhaps peace begins at home.  Or in the workplace.  We need peace in the political arena.  That’s for sure.  I believe charity of heart can help.  Along with an understanding that good people can have differing views on different subjects.  Not sure that’ll work though.  

Peace be with you.   

The Quran

I just finished reading the Quran.  All 114 suras (chapters).  I previously described my journeys through the Old Testament (6/11/12) and New Testament (11/10/13).   Given our trip to the Middle East, I thought I’d read the Quran.  The Quran is intended to be read in Arabic (26:195) but my copy was in English. 

I consider myself to be a good Episcopalian (nee Lutheran).  But apart from an Old Testament attitude and repetition of theme, there was not much in the Quran to question.  The cast of characters, the prophets and the stories are the same.  The commands (believe, do good works, pray) are pretty much the same.  God’s (or Allah’s) warning to his people (re heaven/hell) is similar.  Jesus (Isa) plays a prominent role as a Messiah.  While I might be accused of oversimplification, I discerned three fundamental areas of disagreement between Islam and Christianity.  First, the Quran denies that God actually “came down” from heaven to father a son (Jesus).  He simply said “Be” and it was done (19:35).  God/Allah does not have children.  Second, there is the overarching theme that Mohammed received God’s message through the Archangel Gabriel (see 1/30/12 and 3/26/12) and wrote the Quran over 23 years.  Third, Muslims consider Islam to be a “perfection” of Judaism and Christianity.  It is the true religion . . . .   

Despite that “perfection,” Jews, Christians and Sabians are considered “People of the Book” — and cousins in the Faith.  Whether you call Him God, Jehovah or Allah; whether you worship on Friday, Saturday or Sunday; whether you say “Pax vobiscum”Peace be with you“Shalom” or “As-Salamu alaikum” the three Abrahamic religions have similar roots and much in common.  So why all the strife, violence and hatred?