Yesterday was the second Sunday of Advent. The theme was peace. It was a wonderful service; everyone seemed anointed. My sermon focused on the meaning of “shalom,” the Hebrew word for peace. Some believe the root concept is “to be joined” in the sense of “connected.” Shalom thus came to mean “complete” or “whole” with the sense of “soundness.” By extension, it could mean “health” or even “prosperity.”
The core consequence of humanity’s fall into sin is death, separation from God and life. Sin shatters. We are broken and fearful, in need of restoration, healing, reconnectedness with ourselves, our God, and creation. The atonement of Christ is not just about forgiveness; it is about restoration to wholeness. Christ came that we might have life and that to the fullest. He came to heal, to reconnect the pieces of his creation. His kingdom is “of joy, peace, and righteousness in the Holy Spirit.”
Properly understood, peace is not the absence of conflict, or even the presence of tranquility. It is wholeness in the midst of the tempest, connectedness in the face of destruction. When David asked a messenger about the battle his men were fighting (“how goes the battle”) his actual words were how is the peace of the battle? Peace is not freedom from the struggle, it is fighting the good fight of faith with confidence. This is the peace Jesus gives, assurance He is present causing all things to work together for our good. He is our peace. In Him we are whole, are becoming whole, and are destined for eternal wholness.
That’s my view from near Polk County.
December 6, 2010