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Developing a Christian Mind - Essay Example

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This paper is a brief response to the question of what, in a Christian worldview, are the aspects of Shalom on the three levels of personal relationships, and how they can be visible in someone’s life? It will include a definition of Shalom, a description of the three levels…
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December 6, Shalom: Relationship with God, Creation, Others This paper is a brief response to the question of what, in a Christian worldview, are the aspects of Shalom on the three levels of personal relationships, and how they can be visible in someone’s life? It will include a definition of Shalom, a description of the three levels of personal relationship in which a Christian bears responsibility, and an exploration of how to apply the Shalom concept in daily living.
Shalom is more than a word. Like all words, it is a symbol for something far more complex. Shalom is popularly understood to be a Hebrew word for “peace” (The Refiners Fire). However, it also means, according to Strongs Concordance (Strong 7965), completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. Shalom is a blessing (The Refiners Fire).
There are three levels of Christian relationship. We are called to be in relationship with God, with God’s creation, and with others (Lowe and Claiborne). Our relationship with God is the most basic and critical. That relationship was a gift to us, through Jesus, the life-giver. When Jesus ascended to heaven, he left us the Holy Spirit, so that his ministry is still alive, still dynamic, still with us. By tuning into the leading of the Holy Spirit, and responding to that leading, we can stay within God’s plan for our lives. In that way, God is not something far away and external to us, but is internal and immediate. This is the deepest source of peace, of wholeness, completeness, health, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. Shalom is God’s blessing.
What that looks like, in operation, is that a Christian reads God’s Word, prays deeply, listens to the silence in which God speaks. The peace, Shalom, shows in action, in word, in expression, in patience, in gentleness, in modesty. It shows in a Christian’s embodiment of all the virtues that lead to the other levels.
The next level is a Christian’s relationship to God’s creation. Loving God and feeling his love for us, leads us to a great respect for his creation. In the flight of each flamingo, in the wing pattern of each butterfly, in the purity of snow on a mountaintop, in the startle of lightening, in the reflection of creation in the still surface of a lake, in the mist from a thundering waterfall, in the paw of a squirrel, in the whir of the hummingbird, in the strength of an ant and the navigation of a honeybee, there is the hand and heart of God; there is Shalom. Christians are called to discipleship and part of that discipleship involves responsibility as caretakers for God’s creation, as he cares for it (Lowe and Claiborne). Being ecologically informed and involved, being careful stewards, is asked of us and can be seen in Christians who honor Shalom at this level.
The third level of relationship in which shalom should be our Christian motivation, is our relationship with others: marriage partner, children, siblings, parents, relatives, neighbors, community leaders, church leaders, strangers, those in need, enemies, foreigners, cities and countries with whom our city or country is in relationship (Brown). There should be diversity in unity (Brown). Shalom, at this level, invites us to anti-racism and reconciliation (Brown). It inspires us to extend the love of the Prince of Peace and the harmony of justice to the community (Brown). If we are filled with God’s love, led by Spirit, we will embody peace as a model for others. We will value cooperation over competition. We will extend patience, charity and forgiveness to others, as Christ has done for us. We will celebrate peace and be active in preventing and stopping war. We will be honest and truthful, not given to gossip and back-stabbing. Sin is a violation of Shalom (Lowe and Claiborne). We will honor wisdom over winning. We will honor ourselves in the process, as distributors of Shalom. Shalom is the model of peace that Christ represents, the sweetness of Spirit living in Christians and implemented at all three levels of relationship: to God, to creation, to others.
Works Cited
Brown, Jeannine. Bethel Antiracism and Reconciliation. 2011. 6 December 2011
.
Lowe, Ben and Shane Claiborne. Green Revolution: Coming Together to Care for Creation.
Westmont: InterVarsity Press, 2009.
Strong, James. Strongs Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Peabody: Hendrickson, 2009.
The Refiners Fire. The Refiners Fire . nd. 6 December 2011
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