“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves…Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position…If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:9-18
Whenever I think of peace, I think of the tension setting. In 1979 the Niessing Company created the first tension ring called the Niessing Spannring. The concept is simple and stunning. The Niessing Spannring is a ring that holds a gemstone in place with tension instead of with prongs or other mounting. Think of pinching a small rock between your thumb and your index finger. Rather than sit upon the circular ring, the gemstone is a part of the circle, it completes the circle.
In the scriptures, the two most common words translated as peace are “Shalom” (Hebrew) and “Eirene” (Greek). While these two words come from very different cultures and are separated by hundreds of years, they actually have quite a bit in common. Shalom implies completion and fulfillment. To speak of shalom is to speak of wholeness or oneness. In order for there to be shalom there can be no break or rift.
In a similar fashion Eirene means to join or bind together that which has been separated. Eirene is spoken of as God’s gift of wholeness. It means to be set as one.
There is a circular shape to both of these biblical words for peace.
The tension set band is an incomplete circle that is made whole by the gemstone. In Western culture that gemstone often refers to a promise.
The ring is made whole by the promise of love.
We are made whole by the promise of God’s love. It is God’s love that empowers us to honor others. It is God’s love that inspires us to practice hospitality and bless those we’d rather avoid. It is God’s love that gives us the courage to mourn with those who mourn.
God’s love makes us whole and makes it possible for us to live at peace with all.