What if you could live in a place where you were safe and had everything you needed to be well? What if, in that place, it wasn’t just you but everyone who had what they needed to thrive? What if it wasn’t just people, but every living creature and all of nature living together without danger, threat, or lack of any kind? That state of balance and bliss we’re imagining? It has an ancient name: Shalom. And we may be just beginning to imagine shalom, but it is the birthright of all creation. Moreover, because Almighty God is determined to restore shalom to his creation, shalom is inevitable. We who know the Lord are invited, even now, to live in shalom and to join God in creating and restoring it.
This Sunday, we’ll read an ancient letter from a teacher named Paul to a man, Philemon, who was caught in the evil anti-shalom system of slavery. Listen in to hear how Paul invited Philemon (who was not a slave, but a slave owner) to take the whole institution down, all by himself.