“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” (Colossians 2:6-7 )
There are different seasons in the Christian life and discipline. Sometimes we are called to intensive devotion that results in strict disciplines and practices. We pray frequently, read and meditate on scripture, fast, do many good works, and meet often with others in worship. Other times the pace in slower and our contemplations take place within gentle and light disciplines. Sometimes we are in a season of learning, taking in a great deal of information and teachings. Other times our intake is experiential, learning through small voices and common everyday interactions.
In the same way, living out God’s shalom can be an active and busy burden interceding and confronting places of conflict and violence. I think of the experience of the Christian Peace Team that deliberately goes to places of violence to be a symbol of peace and a deterrent to conflict and war. Living out God’s shalom can also be creating and living in a place of peace where relationships are in harmony and each person holds the others good as sacred. Once that shalom is assured one does not need to struggle to live, but lives gently and easily.
The difference is living within a Christian community or context. I remember the years I spent as a student and working in the bookstore. You knew the people you encountered everyday held to the same principles and values that you did. Christian practices came easily because woven within the day was times for worship and contemplation. Everyone held sacred the other’s good, and there was gentleness and compassion. It was a close and safe world. But in some respects it was not the real world. I miss that world, but I know I have become a stronger person for stepping outside of it.
It is my hope and prayer gentle reader that you have places and times of utter shalom where the outer world fades away and God’s abundance surrounds you. May these times strengthen you such that you remain rooted in the faith. Selah!