It's a greeting, it's the name of countless organizations, foundation and workshops, and it's even the tattoo word of choice for many around the word−shalom. What is this ancient and mysterious concept and why does it matter to us as followers of Christ? How should we prioritize shalom in our lives, and what does it look like?
God created all things to be in a beautiful, harmonious, interdependent, knitted, webbed relationship to one another. Just as rightly related physical elements form a cosmos or a tapestry; so rightly related human beings form a community. This interwovenness is what the Bible calls shalom, or harmonious peace.
−Timothy Keller, Generous Justice
Shalom is usually described as wholeness. It is a vision of God’s intended peace with his people, within his people, between his people and among nature. It is a vision of a global community, flourishing.
I will make a covenant of SHALOM with them;
It will be an everlasting covenant.
I will establish them and increase their numbers,
and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. (Ezekiel 37:26)
Shalom, however, is more than just a vision. It is a call to enact those peaceful relationships and that flourishing in the world, here and now. Where there is a breakdown or an absence of justice in a community, shalom is ruptured. We cannot forget that righteousness−justice−is at the heart of true shalom.
The Lord’s justice will dwell in the desert,
His righteousness live in the fertile field.
The fruit of that righteousness will be SHALOM;
its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.
My people will live in peaceful dwelling places,
in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest. (Isaiah 32:16-18)
Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann explains shalom as an “Invitation to Justice”
Check out God of Justice and make it your invitation to justice! Chapters 2 and 3, especially, explain how we can work together to pursue shalom, as a vision and a call.
Test out God of Justice! Download the first chapter in God of Justice. Share it with at least one person today! Use #mobilizeforjustice when sharing on social media.
Go the extra mile and print out a God of Justice poster for your group study.