While we were at Shalom Hill Farm last weekend for the Living Education Retreat, I shared some thoughts about the word shalom at the morning meditation. This is a brief gathering out on the observation deck in the early morning right alongside the baaing sheep and flickering birds. It is a peaceful time to meditate on truth and beauty before we begin the day's activities.
I am always thinking about that quote by St. Irenaeus, "The glory of God is a human being fully alive," and the full definition of shalom fits nicely with it. The concept of human flourishing goes hand in hand with the concept of shalom as found in the Old Testament. Theologian Cornelius Plantinga says it beautifully:
This past weekend, we discussed this. A lot. It has everything to do with how we choose to live and educate.The webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight is what the Hebrew prophets call shalom. We call it peace, but, it means far more than mere peace of mind or a cease-fire between enemies. In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight - a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed, a state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as its Creator and Saviour opens the doors and welcomes creatures in whom he delights.
I have one more speaking engagement in Peoria next weekend and then I am done for the season. I am looking forward to concentrating on my family, some consulting, and being fully alive.