Dear brothers and sisters,
Good afternoon. Time flies. This is the last day of my two weeks study. I have learned a lot and inspired a lot in the area of cultural anthropology. For a long time I wanted to study about the history and trend of culture. I felt like Christians are always under the driving currents of Modern culture without our awareness. I thought it should come under the discipline of Sociology. Now I realized that it was actually social anthropology that focuses on this area of study. I thank God for guiding me into this study without I even knew how to choose. I am fascinated by it and have bought several books that my professor has recommended. Praise the Lord! We are serving a God who is actively involving in the life of His people. Our Holy Spirit guides us in the light of His path, so that we enjoy or delight in His Word.
When they said, “Let’s go to the house of GOD,” my heart leaped for joy. And now we’re here, oh Jerusalem, inside Jerusalem’s walls! (Psalm 122:1-2) Worship does not satisfy our hunger for God—it intensifies our appetite. Our need for God is not taken care of by engaging in worship—it deepens. It overflows the hour and permeates the week. The need is expressed in a desire for peace and security. Our everyday needs are changed by the act of worship. We are no longer living from hand to mouth, greedily scrambling through the human rat race to make the best we can out of a mean existence. Our basic needs suddenly become worthy of the dignity of creatures made in the image of God: peace and security. The words ‘shalom’ and ‘shalvah’ play on the sounds in Jerusalem, ‘jerushalom,’ the place of worship.
Shalom, peace, is one of the richest words in the Bible. You can no more define it by looking up its meaning in the dictionary than you can define a person by his social security number. It gathers all aspects of wholeness that result from God’s will being completed in us. It is the work of God that, when complete, releases streams of living water in us and pulsates with eternal life. Every time Jesus healed, forgave or called someone, we have a demonstration of shalom.
And shalvah is security. It has nothing to do with insurance policies or large bank accounts or stockpiles of weapons. The root meaning is leisure—the relaxed stance of one who knows that everything is all right because God is over us and for us in Jesus Christ. It is the security of being at home in a history that has a cross at its center. It the leisure of the person who knows that every moment of our existence is at the disposal of God, and lived under the mercy of God.
Worship initiates an extended, daily participation in peace and security so that we share in our daily rounds what God initiates and continues in Jesus Christ. We normally view worship as a religious ritual to please God at church. But worship, indeed, is a way to intensify our peace and passion in God. Therefore worship is about God and for us to realize our being in Him. The communion of Triune God wants to extend His relationship to us. It is like us inviting our friends to fellowship. God is inviting us to have fellowship within Him. Shalom and Shalvah are gifts from the Creator God to His Creatures that bear His Image. He intended for us to enjoy this shalom and shalvah as we find shelter in His Grace. When we worship we know we are enjoying the peace under His wing. We don’t need to worry or afraid if we know the one we worship is Almighty!
Love you because we are His beloved children,