Salaam (Peace)

Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

Many Scripture references point us to the concern for justice as a strong element in the kingdom of God. Similarly, the call to work for justice and to overcome injustice is a common cry.  For many of the following songs, see such passages as Deuteronomy 27:6, Psalm 9:9, 10:18,  64:1-6, 72:1-4, 119:134, 137:1-9, Proverbs 21:3, Isaiah 1:17,  Micah 6:6-8, Amos 5:15, Acts 10:34-38,  Colossians 4:1 and James 1:27.

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Any song or testimony about the cries that comes from our nations and cities must be met with confessional statements about the mission of the church as listed here.


Our World Belongs to God, paragraphs 41-43 are explicit and pointed about the mission of the church: “In a world estranged from God, where happiness and peace are offered in many names and millions face confusing choices, we witness—with respect for followers of other ways—to the only one in whose name salvation is found: Jesus Christ.”


Later, Our World Belongs to God, paragraphs 52-54 point to the task of the church in seeking public justice and functioning as a peacemaker: “We call on our governments to work for peace and to restore just relationships. We deplore the spread of weapons in our world and on our streets with the risks they bring and the horrors they threaten…”


The Belhar Confession, section 3 calls the church to be a peacemaker, and section 4 calls the church “to bring about justice and true peace.”


Our Song of Hope, stanza 10 calls the church to seek “the welfare of the people” and to work “against inhuman oppression of humanity.”


Salaam (Peace)


The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
guard your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God,
and of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
remain with you always. Amen.
—based on Philippians 4:7, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Salaam (Peace)

Hymn Story/Background

This English translation of the Arabic song was first published in Global Songs for Worship (2010). The author and composer, Manal Samir, wrote: “The song was written years ago in Cairo when I went to a crowded place and for the first time I looked at people's faces. There was a lot of sadness. I heard a voice in my heart saying: People don't have to live like that. God can give peace that surpasses understanding. I went home and opened my Bible to look for verses of peace and comfort to fight brokenness and sadness. This was how the song was written.”
— Manal Samir (http://www.last.fm/music/Better+Life)

Author Information

Anne Zaki, a staff member of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, is a Resource Development Specialst for the Middle East, based in Egypt. She grew up in Cairo, Egypt, in a pastor's home. Since her teen years, she has been involved in various teaching and leading ministries. At age 16 she was selected by the Egyptian Government to represent Egypt in an international school in Western Canada dedicated to peace and international understanding worldwide. Two years later Anne came to Calvin College seeking a liberal arts Christian education to help her integrate her Christian faith and her social justice convictions.
Anne received her Bachelors degree from Calvin College in Psychology and Sociology in 1999, and her Masters degree from The American University in Cairo in the field of Social Psychology in 2002, and her Master's of Divinity from Calvin Theological Seminary in 2009.
— CICW Website Bio (http://www.calvin.edu/worship)

Composer Information

Emily Ruth Brink (b. 1940, Grand Rapids, MI) graduated from Calvin College (BA in Music), the University of Michigan (MM in Church Music) and Northwestern University, Evanston, IL (PhD in Music Theory). She taught at Manhattan (Montana) Christian School (1964-1966), the State University of New York (New Paltz; 1966-1967), Trinity Christian College (Palos Heights, IL; 1967-1972), and the University of Illinois (Campaign/Urbana; 1974-1983), also serving as organist and choir director in both Episcopal and Christian Reformed churches in those areas.

In 1977 she was appointed to the Psalter Hymnal Revision Committee, and in 1983 moved to Grand Rapids in a change of careers to become the first music and worship editor of the Christian Reformed Church. She was the founding editor of Reformed Worship; editor of the Psalter Hymnal (1987), Songs for LiFE (1994), Sing! A New Creation (2001, 2002); co-editor with Bert Polman of The Psalter Hymnal Handbook (1998), and editor of many other worship-related publications. Since 1984 she has been an adjunct professor at Calvin Theological Seminary, directing the seminary choir in the first years, and introducing courses on church music and worship before being granted emeritus status in 2009.

Her ecumenical work began with the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, becoming the first woman president (1990-1992); in 2006 she was named a Fellow of the society in recognition of distinguished services to hymnody and hymnology. She served in both local and national offices of the American Guild of Organists, and has been a member for more than twenty years of the Consultation on Common Texts, serving as chair from 2008 to 2014.

In 2002, she became a Senior Research Fellow at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, contributing to The Worship Sourcebook and other publications; serving as program chair of the annual Symposium on Worship; and helping to plan and participate in worship conferences in more than fifteen countries. 
— Emily Brink

Greg Scheer (b. 1966) has composed hundreds of pieces, songs and arrangements. His music is published by Augsburg Fortress, GIA, Abingdon Press, Worship Today, Faith Alive and in numerous hymnals. He has won commissions from the Iowa Choral Directors Association, Iowa Composers Forum, Linn-Mar High School String Orchestra, Chagall String Quartet and Northwestern College. His electronic piece, "Crossfade," was included on the CD ...from everlasting to everlasting... His string quartet "6" was featured on WQED in Pittsburgh and was also a winning composition in the 2000 Southeastern Composers' Symposium. His hymn "People of the Lord" won the Calvin09 hymn contest and was subsequently sung and published internationally.
— Greg Scheer

Author and Composer Information

The author and composer, Manal Samir, writes: “I am a Christian who was born in Cairo, Egypt. The Lord began to give me songs at age twelve, when I accepted the Lord Jesus as my Savior. I started with songs for kids, as a kid, then songs for all the church. When I was seventeen I joined the “Better Life” team, the first Christian band in the Middle East. With my husband and two boys, I moved to Los Angeles a few years ago to serve the Lord wherever he sends me. I am still serving with ”Better Life,” and started a youth band called “The Promise Team,” from all Arabic churches in Los Angeles. I am involved with song writing, worship leading, as well as doing a live TV show on Christian satalite stations.” “Better Life” is an Egyptian Christian Band from Cairo that started with a group of young people in 1978. The group has blossomed into three bodies: The original “Better Life,” “Better Life Juniors,” and “Better Life Kids.” They have released numerous albums and original Christian songs and have travelled all over the Arab world and to North America, Europe and Australia holding thousands of concerts. Better Life now includes regular television programming for Christian satellite stations. 
— Manal Samir (http://www.last.fm/music/Better+Life)
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