October 31, 2011

Building Communities of Shalom

I have been preparing for next summer at Red Line Ministries, the ministry I am currently directing, and this has led me to dive headfirst into the Biblical concept of shalom.

In English speaking contexts, we typically translate shalom to mean "peace". Yet this translation does not capture the depth of this concept. In the Bible the word shalom has many different meanings and very rarely does this word speak of peace in the way we know it. Shalom is not just a lack of war and violence. Instead shalom is a concept rich in abundance and justice.

According to Perry B. Yoder in his book Shalom: The Bible's Word for Salvation, Justice, and Peace, "Shalom defines how this should be." Shalom exists when all is in the full and abundant state that God created it to be. It is when every last child has enough to eat, we do not judge a person's value on how much they own or the color of their skin, and we live in harmony with the earth.

This thinking about shalom has me pondering, what am I doing to build shalom on Earth. I feel that our calling as Christians is to build communities of shalom. This is how we share God with those around us. I live a very content life right now. I have a job and go to school part time. I am learning constantly and yet still have time to relax. But what am I doing to make the world a better place? How can I ensure that each day I contribute to the world each day?

This is my new goal for myself. To give of what I have and share it with others. It is so easy to be a consumer in our world, but I am called to create. And so I commit that each day I will commit to create something. To do something that builds shalom around me and contribute to building a world that is the way it was intended.