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  • Writer's pictureRev. Joel L. Tolbert


I stayed up late (too late) last night watching people wearing too much make-up press virtual buttons on over-sized screens to mirco-analyze every little corner of every county in about eight of our fifty states. The other forty-two states, like Maryland, are so in the bag for the blues or the reds, they get very little media attention in Presidential years, just a quick graphic.

As I finally surrendered and moved myself from occasionally sleeping in the living room chair to committedly sleeping in the bed beside Jill, my mind, heart, body, and spirit could not agree sleep was the best idea. The heart began to ache for those who are scared, angry, exhausted, or discouraged. The spirit began to long for the separated, outcast, infected, and mourning. The mind began to race through permutations and what-if scenarios for the days and months ahead. The body fidgeted from position to position in search of the impossible place that is firm enough but cozy, not too warm or too cold.

In those moments, my prayer is for shalom. Jesus promised shalom, which we often translate as peace, but shalom means so much more than peace. It means wholeness, completeness, fullness, the absence of any hypocrisy, full integration and integrity. My most common prayer is to ask Jesus for wholeness and peace and to help me grant it to others.

I wonder, are you longing for shalom, peace and wholeness? Do you long for a country at peace, united and whole, sharing individual perspectives but working together for the common good? Do you long for wholeness in your family, where no personal difference or preference is stronger than the unity of love that would personally sacrifice for one another? Do you long for a community where truths are not debated, and opinions are expressed but do not threaten the deepening of old friendships or the making of new ones?

Today, pray for shalom. Then, let's be the shalom our family, community, and country need until it comes, as promised.

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