“This radiant word expressed superbly Yahweh’s all-embracing concern for human
welfare. In it, everything that made for wholeness was intertwined: health, right relationships,
justice, physical safety, good harvest, prosperity, the presence of Yahweh.”
Alan Kreider: Journey Towards Holiness
“We should make a renewed effort to place shalom more centrally in our proclamation and struggle. Placing matters related to peace on the outer edge of faith, making them an optional, individual matter of conscience, and reducing the meaning of peace to a passive avoidance of violence, have all skewed our understanding of both shalom and the central core of biblical faith.”
Perry Yoder: Shalom, The Bible’s Word for Salvation, Justice and Peace.
Short summaries of the Old Testament meaning of “shalom” express a dream whose content is attractive but elusive. For Colin Marchant (Shalom, My Friends) “shalom” is a key concept in urban spirituality, the search for an expression of Christian faith which speaks to modern city-dwellers. In this paper I want to give a three-fold answer the following question: Why is “Shalom” a vital part of Christian proclamation to the city?
1. It is a description of the positive content of salvation
2. It expresses a dream which is much wider than Christianity.
3. The concept of shalom ties together the spiritual and material aspects of life.
From: “Shalom: A Message for the City”
* * *
The third point above is important. Did you get that? “Shalom” ties together the spiritual and material aspects of life. Anyone out there have any need to integrate life? Anyone else noticed that in the legacy of modernity we are really good at compartmentalizing? Anyone else think that this particular legacy, our separation of physical and spiritual, Sunday and Monday, clergy and laity, roots the subversion of our faith in a powerful, powerful way – a “dark leaven” to the leaven the Lord intends?
If there was a word, a biblical idea that is storied through both Old and New Testaments that could help us help others make sense of this false dichotomy, would you want to explore it?
If a single word could reclaim the heritage of wholeness in life the Lord intends, would it mot make sense — nay, it would be imperative! — that we recover and reclaim the word.
I give you “shalom.”