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Peace be with you

As-salāmu ʿalaykum (Arabic: السَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ) is a greeting in Arabic that means “Peace be upon you”. The greeting is a religious salutation among Muslims when greeting, though it is also used by Arabic speakers of other religions, including Arab Christians. The typical response to the greeting is wa ʿalaykumu s-salām(وَعَلَيْكُمُ السَّلَام) “And peace be upon you too”.

Greeting people with a desire, hope, and wish for peace is important in the three Abrahamic religions (Islam, Christianity, Judaism). It dovetails with the current widespread seeking of wellness.

Jesus wants us to have life in all its fulness (John 10:10) – for each person to have the best-possible life.

Wellness, in my own, Christian, tradition (and the Jewish background underneath that), is best expressed in the word ‘shalom’ (שָׁלוֹם) in the Hebrew Bible and ‘eirēnē’ (εἰρήνη) in the Greek New Testament. These words, which occur about 350 times in the Bible, are often translated as “peace”. But that is quite a limiting translation. They far better express the concept of a biblical understanding of what we would now call “wellness”.

Shalom-salam-peace-wellness is each person living in peace in all relationships – with God, with self, with others, and with nature. This includes vigour and vitality in all the dimensions of our life.

Here is the World Peace Prayer:

Lead me from death to life,
from falsehood to truth;
lead me from despair to hope,
from fear to trust;
lead me from hate to love,
from war to peace.
Let peace fill our heart,
our world, our universe.

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