I’m so drawn to this Hebrew concept that I have the word tattooed on my right forearm:
While shalom is often translated as peace, the biblical concept of shalom is so much richer, deeper, and more expansive than that. Shalom represents peace, yes, but it also means wholeness, flourishing, and clings to the dream of everything being as God intended it to be, everything made right.
In short, shalom is God’s ultimate goal for all of creation, and it is beautiful.
Yet we are painfully aware that reality as we know it is not defined by shalom, by wholeness, by peace. We live in a world full of pain, brokenness, injustice—in short, a world longing for a better future.
This is where the work of justice comes in.
Justice—working to right that which is wrong, to mend that which is broken—is the path from our current reality to God’s future reality.
Justice is one of our core values, and the language we’ve given to it is that we desire wholeness in our communities and commit ourselves to work for the flourishing of our neighbors.
God is wholeheartedly committed to justice because God’s greatest desire is to see all of creation thrive. And this path requires addressing everything that holds us back from God’s vision for us and for God’s creation—whether it be unjust systems, harmful attitudes and postures, or individual acts of injustice.
It requires the recognition that my well-being is wrapped up in your well-being and in the well-being of my neighbor. And it takes all of us—giving our broken best to work for the flourishing of all.
Friends, may we be so captivated by God’s vision of shalom that we give everything we have to participating in God’s work of justice in our world.