Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Restored Wholeness!

I have come to believe that God’s mission is to restore wholeness to all of creation. God’s dream is that Shalom be restored here on earth just as it is in heaven.

“Shalom is derived from a root that conveys the image of wholeness, unity, and harmony – something that is complete and sound.” From the Expository Dictionary of Bible Words by Lawrence O. Richards

Shalom is an announcement of how the world should be & is not yet. It is a world that is safe, free, whole, secure, prosperous, just & complete. (See: Leviticus 26:4-6, Isaiah 32: 16-17, Ezekiel 34: 25-29, Luke 4: 16-21 & Ephesians 2:14)

Theologian and author Walter Brureggemann speaks to this idea in his book; Living Toward a Vision: Biblical Reflections on Shalom.

“The central vision of world history in the Bible is that 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.”

“The most staggering expression of the vision is that all persons are children of a single family, members of a single tribe, heirs of a single hope, and bearers of a single destiny, namely, the care and management of all of God’s creation.”

“That persistent vision of joy, well-being, harmony, and prosperity is not captured in any single word or idea in the Bible, and a cluster of words is required to express its many dimensions and subtle nuances: love, loyalty, truth, grace, salvation, justice, blessing, righteousness. But a term that in recent discussions has been used to summarize that controlling vision is shalom. Both in current discussion and in the Bible itself, it bears tremendous freight – the freight of a dream of God that resists all our tendencies to division, hostility, fear, drivenness, and misery.” “Shalom is the substance of the biblical vision of one community embracing all creation.”

“The consequence of justice & righteousness is shalom – an enduring sabbath of joy and well-being. But the alternative is injustice and oppression, which lead inevitably to turmoil and anxiety with no chance of well-being.”

“Jesus’ ministry to the excluded was the same, the establishment of community between those who were excluded and those who had excluded them. His acts of healing the sick, forgiving the guilty, raising the dead, and feeding the hungry are all actions of reestablishing God’s will for shalom in a world gone chaotic by callous self-seeking.”

Calvin Theological Seminary President Cornelius Plantinga Jr. writes about this topic in his book Not the Way It’s Supposed To Be.

“Central in the classic Christian understanding of the world is a concept of the way things are supposed to be. They ought to be as designed and intended by God, both in creation and in graceful restoration of creation. They are supposed to include peace that adorns and completes justice, mutual respect, and deliberate and widespread attention to public good.”

“The Prophets kept dreaming of a time when God would put things right again.”

“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, 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 Savior opens doors and welcomes the creatures in whom he delights. Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be.”

“God hates sin not just because it violates his law but, more substantively, because it violates shalom, because it breaks the peace, because it interferes with the way things are supposed to be. God is for shalom and therefore against sin.”

“In short, sin is …shalom-breaking.”

No comments: