Wednesday, March 14, 2012
This past Sunday at church, my congregation welcomed a pastor who hailed from central city Chicago. (I have retained my lesson from college courses to avoid using the racist term "inner city.") His sermon stood out because it was delivered passionately, in a style that usually is reserved for orators from the Central City. He was talking about "Shalom."
Shalom, which means peace, which as far as we know, is something like the Hebrew "aloha."
But Brother Kenety was not going to allow us to walk out of church without learning about the word, and hearing it pounded into our conscience. Shalom, it turns out, means so much more than just "peace." It goes deeper, is richer, and has a longer life than "peace." Here are some words that better describe "Shalom": completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord.
Shalom. Shalom. To those struggling with loss. To those seeking but not finding. Brother Kenety mentioned that people in his parish, some don't even know who their father is. Shalom. Shalom.
Many years ago, I contacted my friend and told him that it was the National Day of Prayer, and asked him if he needed me to pray for him for anything. Nope, he couldn't think of anything. He was fine.
Shalom. Shalom for those who can't think of anything that is pressing, pulling, testing them.
And then, Shalom for my home. Stretched and pulled and tested.
Shalom to my sister Heidi. She lands in China tomorrow to begin a two week stay that ends, God-willing, with her returning with a little baby girl. Shalom, Heidi and Anna. May we all find it and seek it and hear it. Let it fill our homes.