Our sacred text gives us many ways to paint the sad picture of human history and with those varied depictions, many frames with which to view them. One such frame, a cosmic battle of good versus evil, highlights a grim sketch in charcoal shades: a war that has raged between us and our Maker since Genesis 3.
It was there in the Garden of Eden that shalom was shattered and humanity, and all of creation along with us, was catapulted into discord, disunity, and death. We broke with God, switching sides in a longstanding war we had no knowledge of, and found ourselves freshly at odds not just with Him, but with each other and with the earth. Needless to say, there has been no end to the enmity, aka irreconcilable hostilities, ever since.
Lies. Shame. Fear. Blame. Toil. Sorrow. Pain. Separation. War. Death.
A shattered shalom.
There could be no victory in the larger war that evil wages against good until peace was made between Creator and His wayward creation, peace between the Maker and those made in His image to bear His image. This could not be just a cessation of hostilities, but a wholesale repair of a shattered shalom.
An envoy of peace was sent into the war zone, a Master Diplomat, the only one who could painstakingly rebuild, piece by piece, a shattered shalom. This would be no cheap fix. He came not to compromise. He came not to strike a violent blow in retribution. He came not to demand someone be held accountable. His goal: to mediate between two warring parties with irreconcilable differences, to bring them together in complete reconciliation. He sought no temporary truce or mere cessation of hostilities. He worked for a lasting and forever kind of peace between Creator and His rebellious charges.
Though it was outrageously high, He came prepared to pay the price for this particular peace. There was no other way.
And from there, through the peace He made for us at the cross, He brings us together in a united front in the battle between good and evil that rages on. Switching sides once again, we stand with Him as ambassadors of a new shalom, harmony with God, with each other, and with the earth. We fight not with weapons of war, but armed with this very peace. This shalom is better than even what was before in the garden, because this shalom not only reconciles us to our Maker, it makes its home in in us, living and breathing within us, doing its healing work as it fills us, pressing itself into the corners of the soul. It soothes where the shards of a shattered shalom have wounded us, applying a balm of grace. It grows in us, transforming us more and more into the Image we were made in. As the war rages on and evil finds new footholds, this shalom begs to be poured out to others, paying the price again and again for a real and lasting peace.
This is not an affair of state or a state of mind. This is the Prince of Peace.
This is Jesus.