Interestingly, in Israel, where there is little in the way of peace, the word SHALOM is used as a greeting to say hello and good-bye to someone. But there is much more to this word than a common greeting of hello and good-bye.
The word SHALOM means…Completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, and the absence of agitation or discord.
The Biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann describes Shalom as the “central vision” of the Bible in which all of creation is one, every creature in community with every other, living in harmony and security toward the joy and well-being of every other creature. In short, shalom is related to salvation, the healing of the disordered and broken into harmony of its created wholeness.
It is the responsibility of the community of God (God’s church) to heal, to pray for healing, to work for healing; this is to enact God’ s Shalom. As we read in the Biblical record of the life of Jesus we see that Jesus did not just heal a few people in a few odd stories about miracles; rather, Jesus embodied healing, healing for all creation, healing that would bring forth God’s Shalom.
As Christians, as followers of the words and actions of Jesus, we too are called to heal and bring harmony to God’s world. We do this in our prayers, we are a praying people; we do this in our readings of God’s words and we do this in our acts of love toward each other, both in and out of our church congregation. We long for healing, we long for wholeness, we long for peace, and the core of Shalom is communal harmony. This is God’s Shalom to participate in God’s longing to restore created harmony to the universe; we start this healing with and among ourselves!