Sunday, January 14, 2007


Why "shalom" as a sign-off? Shalom is Hebrew for something like "peace unto you." But I think it is more than we typically mean when we would say that in English. (At least American English, apologies to my friends across the pond.)

In English, peace generally means an absence of war. The first three definitions of peace from are:

1. The absence of war or other hostilities.
2. An agreement or a treaty to end hostilities.
3. Freedom from quarrels and disagreement; harmonious relations.

Shalom conveys a much deeper experience. Shalom is the peace of God that envelopes and surrounds you. It isn't that you are not at war with your neighbor, but rather that you are at peace with yourself and with God. I can't say it any better than this:
    Saying shalom purposefully means to offer a peace treaty, a pledge to live for the other’s well-being, a covenant to desire and seek the good life of God’s favor together. (1)
So be at peace, and of course, Shalom!

(1) Metzler, James E. From Saigon to Shalom. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1985. Found in an article by Peter Kroeker on

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