A Season of Shalom
You are Invited to a Season of Shalom
What is that? We’ll get there, but first let me tell you why we need it.
Almost every day I read about or talk to people who are struggling on a scale I’ve never witnessed before. Some of those conversations are with you. I too have felt pressed from several angles in recent years. It’s also in the news everywhere we turn: a mental health epidemic, people feeling discouraged, Christians divided or “deconstructing”, despair and overwhelm on the rise. Families are barely keeping their heads above water. Others feel isolated. Health and counseling professionals are in very high demand.
That’s why we need shalom, a gorgeous Hebrew word that one theologian describes as, “The webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight . . .. 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. . . . Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be.” Lisa Sharon Harper condenses that to nine words: “Shalom is what the Kingdom of God smells like.”
We’re calling the time between now and Easter a Season of Shalom, a season to pursue “flourishing, wholeness, and delight.” Be on the lookout for opportunities to encounter God through prayer, beauty, quiet, creation, and formational events. This theme will not only come through special/additional efforts, but will also be woven into our regular rhythms of life together. Our next three sermon series, for example, fit within this focus on shalom. In Advent (starting this Sunday!) we’ll explore “Becoming Tenders of the Garden”; in Epiphany we’ll look at “Becoming Builders of Unity”; and during Lent we’ll focus on “Becoming Who We Are.” Together, these three cover the larger biblical story of creation, community, and communion.
As Advent 1 approaches this Sunday we turn our attention to not only remembering the first advent of Jesus 2000 years ago, but also his second advent, when he will come again to restore shalom to all the earth. During Advent we ache with hope, on the edge of our seats, waiting for the fullness of new life within us, between us, with God, and in all creation. In the meantime, our hearts are filled with thanksgiving because we know that he comes to us even now in our ordinary lives with a foretaste of “the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”
With gratitude and hope,
The Sermon Series
Join us as we find rest and peace together as a community during the next three season of the Christian Calendar. As we travel through the series with Fr. Cliff, we will update here with a link to each sermon’s audio.
BECOMING TENDERS OF THE GARDEN (ADVENT)
BECOMING BUILDERS OF UNITY (EPIPHANY)
BECOMING WHO WE ARE (PENTACOST)
- Blessed Earth: Hope for Humanity by Matthew Sleeth, MD
- Planet Wise: Dare to Care for God’s World by Dave Bookless
- L is for Lifestyle: Christian Living that Doesn’t Cost the Earth by Ruth Valerio
- Keeping God’s Earth: The Global Environment in Biblical Perspective by Noah J. Toly and Daniel I. Block
- Creation Care: A Biblical Theology of the Natural World by Douglas J. Moo and Jonathan A. Moo
- All Creation Waits: Advent Mystery of New Beginnings by Gayle Boss
- Refugia Faith: Seeking Hidden Shelters, Ordinary Wonders, and the Healing of the Earth by Debra Reinstra
- The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey