For the Peace of the Whole World

The first three petitions of the Orthodox great litany have a common theme:

In peace, let us pray to the Lord.

For the peace from above and for the salvation of our souls…

For the peace of the whole world…

Biblical scholar Michael Gorman comments:

the peace of the church is not merely for insiders, for life within the body of Christ; its inner life spirals out into the world. Paul already makes this centrifugal dimension of the church peace clear early in his writing career when he urges the Thessalonian believers to practice peacemaking (1 Thess. 5:13b) by “not repay[ing] evil for evil” and by “do[ing] good to one another and to all” (1 Thess. 5:15), which reemphasizes the prayer of 3:12: “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all.”  (Becoming the Gospel: Paul, Participation, and Mission, Kindle  4097-4101)

It was the heavenly hosts who announced to the world that the coming of the Messiah meant peace – between God and humanity:

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!”  (Luke 2:13-14)

As others have pointed out, Jesus  in the Beatitudes said “Blessed are the peacemakers,” not the peace lovers.  Our task is not merely to love peace, but to make it.  We pray for peace for the world, and agree to be those who make it happen.