Celebrating the dream of reconciliation

Jan 15, 2016 by

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“He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance… Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody.” — Ephesians 2, the Message

On Monday at 11:30 a.m., people from all over the community will be gathering in the parking lot of the Emmanuel Episcopal Church on the corner of Main Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way. There they will hear the well-known “I Have A Dream” speech, walk together to Memorial Hall (former Harrisonburg High School building) and then return to enjoy a community meeting and potluck meal at the church.

The vision of both ancient and contemporary prophets has been of a world blessed with shalom, or salem, in which “nothing is marred and nothing is missing.” Their constant prayer is that someday soon all barriers will be broken down, all enmities resolved and all hunger and want done away with.

This is certainly far from a reality today, but it remains a dream that people of faith and goodwill affirm as being “too good not to be true,” a dream they intend to boldly announce, live by and celebrate no matter what the cost or what the consequence.

Salem, or shalom, is not just the absence of war and violence, but the presence of spiritual and emotional wholeness, relational and family harmony, community and national health, and physical and even financial wellbeing. And it is not the kind of peace that can be fully experienced by an individual alone. Personal salvation is a necessary first step, but our full deliverance will come when all of humanity the world over is saved from the effects of evil and brokenness.

Harvey Yoder is an ordained pastor and member of Family of Hope, a small Virginia Mennonite Conference house church congregation. He blogs at Harvspot, where this first appeared.

 


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