sermon illustrations on Shalom

Shalom Across the World

The concept of shalom resonates with vision of an ideal society in other cultures as well, notably in Asia and Africa. In Asia, sangsaeng is an ancient concept “of sharing community and economy together.”   In Africa, the concepts of ubuntu and ujamaa describe respectively the wholeness of life and life in community.

Ubuntu involves the sharing of life as a gift from God: “The individual’s identity is inseparable from identity within the wider community, which includes past, present, and future generations, as well as flora and fauna, the physical environment and the spiritual realm.”  Ujamaa extends this idea by emphasizing the values of family and relatedness. In each of these concepts the focus is on “life-giving civilization which affirms relationships, co-existence, harmony with creation, and solidarity with those who struggle for justice.”

Quoted in Craig L. Nessan, Shalom Church: The Body of Christ as Ministering Community, Fortress Press, 2010.


Shalom and the Kingdom of God

Shalom is the breadth, depth, climate, and smell of the kingdom of God. It’s a counter-story, with nothing missing and nothing lost for everyone who reads it. We become peacemakers when we, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, catch glimpses of shalom, and pull our friends to stand in our line of vision so that they too can see the beauty of the kingdom. Shalom is what happens when the love of God meets our most tender places. Therefore, we can all be peacemakers, because we can all seek and access the love of God to heal our broken places.

Osheta Moore, Shalom Sistas, Herald Press.

Shalom Defined

The webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight is what the Hebrew prophets call shalom. We call it peace, but it means far more than mere peace of mind or a cease-fire between enemies. In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight. . . . Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be.

Cornelius Plantinga Jr., Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin, Eerdmans.

Shalom & Shalvah

Shalom, “peace,” is one of the richest words in the Bible. You can no more define it by looking in the dictionary than you can define a person by his or her 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, “prosperity.” It has nothing to do with insurance policies or large bank accounts or stockpiles of weapons. The root meaning of leisure-the relaxed stance of one who knows that everything is all right because God is over us, with us and 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 is the leisure of the person who knows that every moment of our existence is at the disposal of God, lived under the mercy of God.

Taken from A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society by Eugene Peterson Copyright (c) 1980, 2000 by Eugene Peterson. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL.

See also illustrations on Peace, Peacemaking, Reconciliation, RestorationRighteousness

Still Looking for inspiration?

Consider checking out our quotes page on Shalom. Don’t forget, sometimes a great quote is an illustration in itself!

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