One of my neighbors, who was born in Tibet, has taught me the traditional Tibetan greeting, "Tashi Delek." Whenever I meet him, no matter the time of day, I see his gregarious smile and hear, "Tashi Delek", and I reply with the same words. The words mean "fine, well" or "all things good." I look forward to seeing him, and receiving his greeting. There is something rich in this ritual. The Hebrew word shalom carries a similar connotation. In English, we translate shalom as peace. However, through cultural association and overuse, peace often has a tame sense, denoting some kindly, calm state of passive inner reflection. Shalom, on the other hand, is a strong, active word. To offer someone shalom, as the Jews regularly did during Bible times (and still do today), was to pass on a blessing and to evoke God's good intentions for His world. Shalom communicates completeness, wholeness, and human delight. In other words, the notion of shalom speaks of the world as God always intended it to be.

This is why rebellion against God is so destructive. As one theologian put it, "Evil is the spoiling of shalom." When God first created the world, it existed in a state of joy and prosperity (shalom); and He continues to be active in His world, working to bring us back to that good place.

This theme runs throughout the Bible. God is a God of shalom, and He has formed His people to be a people of shalom. We are to work for the "peace and prosperity" of the cities and neighborhoods where we live (Jeremiah 29:7).

We are to "search for peace, and work to maintain it" (1 Peter 3:11). Wherever we go, we carry God's shalom with us. We receive and spread God's peace to the world. , Winn Collier

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