After reflecting on the notion of thriving at our recent CECEAA Hui I have been mulling over the word shalom. We were challenged by Cathryn Bell to take time out of our busy lives and really seek solitude with our heavenly Father. It is through this relationship with God and coming from a place of rest that we can then truly experience shalom. Shalom is much deeper than just gaining peace it is about wholeness, feeling safe, and flourishing (Brueggemann, 1976).
I was discussing the notion of shalom with a colleague recently and we both shared how we had been shown a glimpse of how God wants us to experience this full experience of well-being even through the difficult seasons. As we shared openly some of the struggles we had been through it was amazing to hear how God had still given us shalom. As we continue to grow in our understanding of this, I imagine we can expect more than just a glimpse! Goheen and Batholomew describe shalom as “a life of flourishing and prospering … [where] our relationships with God, with each other, and with creation are luxuriant and thriving” (2008, p. 45). Shalom is characterised by justice, love, thankfulness and joy. I was challenged by this perspective from Woodley (2012) who talks about shalom being communal, holistic and tangible. He speaks about there being no private or partial shalom. The whole community must have shalom or no one has it. As we grapple with improving our Christ-centred organisational culture and engaging with the THRIVE document, what part are we playing to contribute to that sense of shalom for all? What a beautiful aspiration this is for our centres and whānau.
“Shalom is what love looks like in the flesh. The embodiment of love in the context of a broken creation, shalom is a hint of what was, what should be, and what will one day be again. Where sin disintegrates and isolates, shalom brings together and restores” (Arpin-Ricci, 2015, p. 150).