Shalom

My best friend, Franci, died three years this ago this month from breast cancer. She was only 52 years old. She taught me how to say, “I love you,” to my friends. When she first told me she loved me, I felt a dissonance in how I’d heard and said the phrase. I thought you only said, ‘I love you’ to your children or to someone with whom you were romantically involved. But over time, her words of loving and devoted friendship began a change in me; a transformation in how I understand and express love.

Our worship themes this summer have been around discipleship and relationship. What does following Jesus have to do with relationships? Why do our relationships matter to God? It might be summed up with the concept of shalom. Shalom is the Hebrew word for peace and it’s derived from a root denoting wholeness or completeness. As seen in the image, Hebrews and Christians associate the dove with peace, but shalom is not about the absence of war. Shalom is about God’s yearning, even expectation, for humanity’s wholeness; individually and globally.

In order for humans to become complete with each other and with God, our relationships need to be reconciled. That doesn’t mean we don’t disagree or debate. It doesn’t mean you agree with everyone or get along with everyone. However, God yearns for us to work together on things we find in common.

Shalom is a cosmic principle and divine attribute of grace. As we learn to be better disciples, we are living out shalom to our families, our friends, our neighbors and community, and in extension, to our planet. And so, that is why at the end of my articles, I wish you…
Shalom, Pr. Barb

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