Wednesday’s Holy Week reflection by Alastair Wheeler on the subject of peace.
Zechariah 9: 9 – 10
Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!
Lo, your king comes to you;
triumphant and victorious is he,
humble and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
and the warhorse from Jerusalem;
and the battle-bow shall be cut off,
and he shall command peace to the nations;
his dominion shall be from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
Even in Jesus’s day as he rode the donkey into Jerusalem, with those around him greeting him with the words of the Passover appeal for God’s mercy on his appeal, even then peace seemed a distant dream.
All the prophets had longed for peace, spoken of peace, promised peace – as Zechariah had done 500 years before. Yet still today, 2500 years after Zechariah, two millennia since Jesus rode his donkey, human nature continues to ensure that there is no peace.
As I write these words this year, after several decades in Europe of the absence of actual conflict, the warfare that has blighted the middle East has spread.
Yet even in the presence of man’s hatred and anger and warfare people of good will work for peace – ‘shalom’ or wholeness.
What can you and I do in our lives this Holy Week to work for that peace?
How can we challenge the voices of hatred and revenge without further building anger and hostility?
What can we do that will bring the hope of peace, stir longings of a new normality, in the minds and hearts of others?
Can we see relationships, people, places that are not at peace in our own communities and bring to bear challenge and compassion, truth with grace, righteousness and love, as Jesus did – and calls us to do likewise?