Shalom…

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Today is the Advent Sunday of Peace. I often wish we had a word like Shalom in the English language. Shalom means peace, but it also means wholeness, completeness, prosperity, restoration, wellfare. It means peace, but it also means “how things are meant to be.”

Zechariah said this about his son John:

And you, my little son,
will be called the prophet of the Most High,
because you will prepare the way for the Lord.
You will tell his people how to find salvation
through forgiveness of their sins.
Because of God’s tender mercy,
the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
and to guide us to the path of peace.

Luke 1:76-79 NLT

Zechariah is describing the role his son John will play – telling the world about Jesus and preparing the way for the ministry of Jesus.

But he is also describing God’s plan for Shalom. Through Jesus, Shalom was to enter the world. The light would shine on those sitting in the shadow of death, the light would guide them to the pathway of peace – of shalom.

Jesus is meant to guide us to the way things are meant to be. To the restoration of what it means for each of us to be human. The restoration of our relationships with each other and the restoration of our relationship with God.

I think this is a very rich definition of peace…one that reaches far beyond the idea of peace as simply the “absence of conflict.” I pray Shalom for each of you as you read this blog, and as  you go about your daily lives.

There is a way to Shalom, and that way’s name is Jesus.

Healing…

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Tonight was the Healing Service at our church. It’s always such a special service to me. It is wonderful to be able to pray with people…it is an honor that people will share their brokenness with you, and it is so touching to see how strong their faith is.

So the whole issue of healing is on my mind tonight. I am convinced that Jesus is meant to heal us. But I am also convinced that our illness or brokenness goes so much deeper than disease or injury. I believe that Jesus is meant to be a holistic healer – one who heals our spirits and our minds and our hearts as well as our bodies.

Isaiah wrote:

 For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His government and its peace
will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice
from the throne of his ancestor David
for all eternity.
The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
will make this happen!

Isaiah 9:6-7 NIV

I believe the peace that Isaiah is talking about is meant for all – the world and all who live in it. Not just peace as an absence of conflict, but peace as in wholeness. Peace as in the restoration to how things are meant to be. The

I believe that’s the kind of redemption that Jesus brought into the world through his birth, ministry, death and Resurrection. I believe that’s the kind of healing and renewal for which this world is crying out.

I believe it all started with the birth of a child, a son, who would be called the Prince of Peace, who would rule with fairness and justice.