Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Allelon of Shalom

I was pondering today's post by Sonja, my friend, cHesed sister, and fellow Advent Blogger, and left this comment:

I was thinking along the same lines, but was so struck by the fragile peace struck in Jerusalem in "Kingdom of Heaven" and the respect that the leaders shared between the Saracens the Crusaders--and I mean the peacemakers on each side, not the war-mongers!

For me it has come down to the processing I have done with my children this week concerning shalom as a form of completeness. We talked about the fact that our home cannot have true shalom unless all five of us are at peace--with ourselves and with each other. We're still processing this, but it looks like having enough respect for each other that we can be quiet when quiet is needed by someone, be tranquil within ourselves, and be content with our circumstances. Buoyed by this shalom at home, we are better equipped to spread shalom to our neighbors and larger communities.

This is shedding some light on the truth of "love your neighbor as yourself" for me, as well.

Prince of Peace, indeed! May his Kingdom increase and all his subjects be utterly loyal....

One of the ways that we honor the reign of the Prince of Peace is when we love our enemies. This is a very difficult concept to actually practice... as in the movie about the Crusades... but I think that we could at least take it to heart within the Body of Christ... and I mean all shapes and colors of those who call Christ Lord.

As I talked with my boys about shalom in our home being an image of complete peace and how we each had a responsibility for keeping the peace, as it were, it is striking to me that there is a continual need to respect each other, to forgive each other, to help each other... and so we begin the long list of the "one anothers" in the New Testament. The allelon of shalom.

Which, of course, is why the community of the believers, the Body of Christ, is so vitally important to the advance of the Kingdom. Yes, it is important that each of us accept the invitation to join the New Covenant in Jesus Christ. But that is just the beginning! Too often we stop there and keep "faith" as something "personal--between me and Jesus." But this is the shame of the church in our times, this individualism that does not discern the Body of Christ to which it belongs. And we are all experiencing the resultant isolation and stunted growth. Not just from the rest of the world, the world to which we have been called to share the Gospel, but from each other.

It is in the living of the allelon of shalom that the world sees the glory of God... that we shine our lights in the darkness. It is in the respect for each other out of reverence for Christ, the preferring of one another in humble submission, that compels us to be quiet or to be tranquil or to be content in whatever circumstances we find ourselves... so that there may be shalom in Christ's Body. Then, the light that is Jesus will be able to shine forth from his Body to dispel the darkness in a world in search of shalom.

So, how long will we continue to hide, huddled with our tiny lights under our bushels? I see a world full of bushel baskets of every color, shape and material... and they hold the Light of the World hostage.

Lord, have mercy... perhaps it is time to set the bushels on fire, like the Beacons of Gondor that sounded the call for aid, racing from peak to peak across the great mountains to kindle the hearts of long-suspicious and alienated allies to fulfill ancient oaths of loyalty fallen into decay. How would Theoden King respond? "Gondor has called for aid. And Rohan will answer! Muster the Rohirrim!"

I can hear their battle cry as they race down the hills--to the amazement of their friends and the unexpected horror of their foes: "Ride now! Ride now! Ride to Gondor!" Brings tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat.

Would that there were a few more valiant riders willing to follow their Lord, riding to the aid of their allies, unified in the battle against the Enemy...all other disputes set aside, willing to lay down their lives for their friends.



Brad said...

great insights, peggy - thanks!

i'm intrigued about your family contemplating the 'one-anothers' of the New Testament as a very concrete way of living out/demonstrating the abstract idea and ideals of shalom.

if my interpretation of the NT framework is anywhere near accurate, then one anothers are the spiritual discipline "Cafe Americano" versions of which spiritual gifts are the "espresso." so, i wonder if one of the side benefits of this might end up being early recognition of spiritual giftedness, as any of the three valiant rohirrim find which ones of the one-anothers they most resonate with, become passionate about, find the easiest to want to do ... of course, as encouraged onward by King Roboden and the Lady Abbiwyn!

you two have got waaaaay cool kidz! what are their favorite LOTR characters (and yours)?

AbiSomeone said...

It has been a powerful concept, Brad, calling them to their current aspect of shalom. We'll just have to see where it leads. Hopefully, to shalom in our home! ;^) I will have to process your "coffee" talk some more when I'm awake (har har), but I would like to hear how you might process the five love languages in your matrix....

It is fairly impossible to name my favorite LOTR character (especially since Tom Bombadil was not in the movies!), and I don't remember King Roboden mentioning a favorite (he never volunteers any information--I guess that makes him rather like a mix between Gandalf and Treebeard), but my oldest is drawn to both Aragorn and Gandalf. The middle son is all Hobbit and very much like Pippin :^\ ...that is, when he's not being Gimli or Legolas! Our youngest wavers between Frodo and Gollum! YIKES!

We have LOTR Monopoly, which is a blast! As well as LOTR Risk, which is, well, even more competitive. And I have LOTR Trivial Pursuit and we have to be sure that our oldest (12 yrs) and I are on separate teams, or we'd cream everyone. It ultimately comes down to a battle between the two of us, with the others chiming in now and then. And of course, there's the VeggieTales "Lord of the Beans" that we love....

I need to send you his book report on The Children of Hurin. He did a great job....proud mother that I am :^) He did, however, have to go to the dictionary and find seven words he did not know, because there was no vocabulary words he had to look up. Well, he does comes from fine sesquipedalian stock....

Thanks for stopping by, bro!


a celtic son said...

Blessed Abbess...

as I read your post I had a a flashback to a wonderful moment of revelation, a significant gestalt when a wide range of things came together in unexplainable "sense."

As I read the passage you referred to it came to me in understanding as - "love your neighbour as you know you yourself are loved by God..."

That simple connection blew apart a whole level of understanding of "self" and also defined a deeper understanding of Christianity. It shook the foundations of a "consumerist" Christianity based on loving others as I love myself, towards becoming more Christ focussed and loving others in the way in which my heavenly Father loves me...

You are indeed a treasure in God's household, I pray for shalom in your home in this season...


A Celtic Wanderer

AbiSomeone said...

Wandering Brother,

Thank you for stopping to wonder whilst you wander! I am grateful to have been able to spark a remembrance of an important moment of connection. Remembering is such an important, though oft neglected, exercise!

I read the entire book of John between the flight down to LA on Friday and the return trip on Saturday. So much focus on loving one another as Jesus loves us. It is overwhelming that this important COMMAND of our Lord is so regularly overlooked (when I'm in a generous mood toward folk's attitudes) or so blatantly disobeyed (when I'm counting goat horns on critters that look a bit like sheep!)

It is in showing our love (read: unity) in the Body of Christ as being of the same kind and nature as that between Father, Son and Holy Spirit, that the world will recognize us as children of God and will be able to both see and follow the Light that is Life Eternal!

Truly, I hope and pray the the Prince of Peace reigns in our home this Christmas season--and every day of the year! I certainly have embraced a wider perspective of shalom... I'm sure that it is the result of pondering while taking in the amazing virtual perspective from up in The Abbey's Scriptorium! ;^)

Be blessed, brother. It is good to hear from you now and again!