Advent Week Two: Participating in Peace, Shalom

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"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you." – John 14:27



We exist in divisive, divided times. Communities are in conflict, humans hurting humans, real needs of individuals being unmet. In moments like this, it is essential that peace is reclaimed as a vital focus of our faith-lives, to bring forth healing and beauty in the world. Advent is a time ripe for reflection and re-orientation—and as we enter into the season we are invited to experience God's peace for our lives and communities today.
 
Peace is often condensed to mean calm, tranquility, or the lack of conflict. While this alludes to the qualities of peace, a biblical meaning of peace, Shalom, extends beyond. A Hebrew word referenced throughout the Bible (Genesis 43:27, Exodus 4:18, Psalm 122:6), Shalom is wholeness and completeness. It is the restoration and unification of that which is broken. It is the reconciliation of all things—people to people, people to the earth, people to God—all towards one another. It is, as theologian Walter Bruggeman describes, when "all of creation is one, every creature in community with every other, living in harmony and security and joy toward the joy and well-being of every other creature".
 
Shalom is a slice of the Garden (Genesis 1), and a vision for Revelation 22 when everything is restored, forever and ever. When we come into relationship with Jesus, we are invited to partner with God and participate in Shalom on earth—here and now. This is an inherently creative, subversive process. It takes ingenuity, surprise, disruption, and generativeness to experience restoration in an often oppressive, divided, and unjust world.
 
We participate in Shalom when we give more than is asked of us. We participate in Shalom when we make space to paint, sing, dance, write, mold, craft, and shape visions of healing. We participate in Shalom when the oppressed are liberated. We participate in Shalom when the persecuted are given—unequivocally—the space to replete with rest. We participate in Shalom when we choose to belong to one another.
 
Shalom alters the trajectory of human lives. It is the cosmic paint-brush, the universal language for how God's restoration and reconciliation comes into the world.
 
Tired from this year, it might appear impossible to experience peace in ourselves, let alone usher forth peace for others. In these moments we are invited to turn our gaze to the Prince of Shalom—Jesus. "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you." – John 14:27. Our exclamations of Shalom are only sustained from the reality that peace is ultimately a gift from the Living God.
 
As we enter into the Advent may we orient ourselves towards the creative and beautiful and complete Shalom of God. And as we do, may it flow, in abundance, towards the world around us. Amen.
 
  1. Where, in your heart, soul, mind, and body do you need to experience the Shalom of God? Advent is a time to re-orient our whole being towards the healing presence of Jesus.
  2. In a time of division, we are invited to usher in unity, healing, and restoration. The Apostle Paul invites us to be in kinship with one another (Ephesians 4:32). How can you help bring Shalom to the community around you?



Words: Bryan Ye-Chung

Images: Michael Fruehmann & Eberhard Grossgasteiger

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"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you." – John 14:27



We exist in divisive, divided times. Communities are in conflict, humans hurting humans, real needs of individuals being unmet. In moments like this, it is essential that peace is reclaimed as a vital focus of our faith-lives, to bring forth healing and beauty in the world. Advent is a time ripe for reflection and re-orientation—and as we enter into the season we are invited to experience God's peace for our lives and communities today.
 
Peace is often condensed to mean calm, tranquility, or the lack of conflict. While this alludes to the qualities of peace, a biblical meaning of peace, Shalom, extends beyond. A Hebrew word referenced throughout the Bible (Genesis 43:27, Exodus 4:18, Psalm 122:6), Shalom is wholeness and completeness. It is the restoration and unification of that which is broken. It is the reconciliation of all things—people to people, people to the earth, people to God—all towards one another. It is, as theologian Walter Bruggeman describes, when "all of creation is one, every creature in community with every other, living in harmony and security and joy toward the joy and well-being of every other creature".
 
Shalom is a slice of the Garden (Genesis 1), and a vision for Revelation 22 when everything is restored, forever and ever. When we come into relationship with Jesus, we are invited to partner with God and participate in Shalom on earth—here and now. This is an inherently creative, subversive process. It takes ingenuity, surprise, disruption, and generativeness to experience restoration in an often oppressive, divided, and unjust world.
 
We participate in Shalom when we give more than is asked of us. We participate in Shalom when we make space to paint, sing, dance, write, mold, craft, and shape visions of healing. We participate in Shalom when the oppressed are liberated. We participate in Shalom when the persecuted are given—unequivocally—the space to replete with rest. We participate in Shalom when we choose to belong to one another.
 
Shalom alters the trajectory of human lives. It is the cosmic paint-brush, the universal language for how God's restoration and reconciliation comes into the world.
 
Tired from this year, it might appear impossible to experience peace in ourselves, let alone usher forth peace for others. In these moments we are invited to turn our gaze to the Prince of Shalom—Jesus. "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you." – John 14:27. Our exclamations of Shalom are only sustained from the reality that peace is ultimately a gift from the Living God.
 
As we enter into the Advent may we orient ourselves towards the creative and beautiful and complete Shalom of God. And as we do, may it flow, in abundance, towards the world around us. Amen.
 
  1. Where, in your heart, soul, mind, and body do you need to experience the Shalom of God? Advent is a time to re-orient our whole being towards the healing presence of Jesus.
  2. In a time of division, we are invited to usher in unity, healing, and restoration. The Apostle Paul invites us to be in kinship with one another (Ephesians 4:32). How can you help bring Shalom to the community around you?



Words: Bryan Ye-Chung

Images: Michael Fruehmann & Eberhard Grossgasteiger

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Shalom 3 mini
Shalom 4 mini

Additional Readings

Advent Week One: Waiting With Hope

Reflecting on what it means to experience hope in the person of Jesus.

 

Advent Week Three—Joy

Exploring how to choose into joy this Advent season.

Advent Week Four: Where Love Is Found

To explore the aesthetic, beautiful qualities of love is to explore the messy, complex, mysterious, and wondrous place where Love is found: in the birth of Jesus Christ.

Letting the Psalms Shape our Spirituality

A guide for integrating the Psalms into our daily spiritual practices.

 

Additional Readings

Advent Week One: Waiting With Hope

Reflecting on what it means to experience hope in the person of Jesus.

 

Advent Week Three—Joy

Exploring how to choose into joy this Advent season.

Advent Week Four: Where Love Is Found

To explore the aesthetic, beautiful qualities of love is to explore the messy, complex, mysterious, and wondrous place where Love is found: in the birth of Jesus Christ.

Letting the Psalms Shape our Spirituality

A guide for integrating the Psalms into our daily spiritual practices.