March 30, 2021 | Scott Shelton
Editor's Note: This year’s Lenten Devotional from Presbyterians Today invites us to reflect upon the gift of Shalom, the Hebrew word for peace:
“In the Bible, shalom can be translated not only as peace, but also as tranquility, security, well-being, health, welfare, completeness, and safety.” The writer goes on to encourage, “How can we each receive this gift of shalom and, in turn, bestow it upon the world?”
On this journey, we’ve come through 33 days and 5 Sundays since Ash Wednesday, when we reflected on “we are dust and to dust we shall return.” Now we arrive at Holy Week beginning with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, his death on a cross, and the joy of his resurrection. This process reminds us that in Christ, God was reconciling the world.
In the aforementioned devotional, Ivy Lopedito, Christian Brooks, and Donna Frischknecht Jackson highlight one way forward:
“As we journey through Holy Week, think of hurts, grudges, and hatred that need to be nailed to the cross and laid to rest in a tomb. Think about the healing power of reconciliation and where you have seen it in your life.”
Join us this week as we consider all these things and seek God’s presence on our journey.
About the author: Scott Shelton is one of the pastors at ZPC and has served at ZPC for 27 years. He loves his family - his wife Claire and their four young adult children, and loves currently cheering for Baylor basketball and following other sports. He is involved in adult discipleship, missions, worship, and simply caring for the members of the church.
Scripture: Matthew 5:23-24
During Holy Week, we can think about the person of Jesus and what made him radical. He certainly did miracles – walking on water, turning water into wine. He certainly taught the truth – his parables and the Sermon on the Mount. He certainly cared for people – he healed the sick, forgave sinners, touched lepers, and included those on the fringes of that day’s culture.
He also practiced radical reconciliation with people. Even when hanging on the cross, he prayed “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do,” even when they were dividing up his clothing. When Peter denied knowing Jesus three times, Jesus forgave him and brought him back into relationship. In John 21, Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me?” three times, allowing Peter to answer yes three times. Then Jesus trusts Peter enough to say, “Feed my sheep.”
When we are wronged (even three times or more) will we have enough shalom, to say “Father forgive them?" Will we have enough peace and forgiveness and patience to give people three more chances to express their love, to reconcile with them? During this week, let’s reflect again on the goodness of Jesus, the forgiveness of Jesus, the reconciliation of Jesus. Let us reflect on this week what we might do to share reconciliation with a family member, a co-worker, a friend, a client or just someone we know.
Saying you're sorry is hard. Asking for forgiveness is hard. Forgiving someone else when you have been wronged is hard. With Jesus’ help and with his example, it can be done.
Let us be inspired by the radical reconciliation of Jesus, and let us then be moved to action by the radical sacrifice of Jesus – suffering and dying on the cross that we might have life after death.
May we be different even this week, reflecting on the shalom of Jesus, the reconciliation of Jesus, the peace of Jesus.
Most loving God,
We know and remember what Jesus did for us. Despite being God, he humbled himself to suffer and die, even death on a cross. Help us now to not only remember but to change to be more like Jesus, so that we can share forgiveness, kindness, reconciliation and peace with others.
In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.