Friday, December 10, 2004

A Meditation: Appropriate for Christmas

As we await the birth of the Prince of Peace, envision what it really is, inspired by the words of Neal Plantinga:

They [the prophets] dreamed of a new age in which human crookedness would be straightened out, rough places made plain. The foolish made wise, and the wise, humble. They dreamed of a time when the deserts would flower, the mountains would run with wine, weeping would cease, and people could go to sleep without weapons on their laps. People would work in peace and work to fruitful effect. Lambs could lie down with lions. All nature would be fruitful, benign, and filled with wonder upon wonder; all humans would be knit together in brotherhood and sisterhood; and all nature and all humans would look to God, walk with God, lean toward God, and delight in God. Shouts of joy and recognition would well up from valleys and seas, from women in streets and from men on ships.

The webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight is what the Hebrew prophets called 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 – a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed, a state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as its Creator and Savior opens the doors and welcomes the creatures in whom he delights. Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be.

~ Cornelius Plantinga, Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be, 9-10

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