Shalom is the Hebrew word for peace… In the New Testament, the Greek word is Eirene. The thing about translating words is that there if often meaning and connotations lost as the word is translated. This concept of Shalom is rich and deep and gives us a sense of the flourishing which God intends for the whole of creation. Tim Mackie from the Bible Project says,
in the Bible, the word peace can refer to the absence of conflict, but it also points to the presence of something better in its place…
Jesus came to offer his peace to others like when he said to his followers, “my peace I give to you all.” … Jesus himself is our eirene. He was the whole, complete human that I am made to be but have failed to be, and now he gives me his life as a gift. And this means that Jesus’s followers are now called to create peace.
Paul instructed local churches to keep their unity through the bond of peace, which requires humility and patience and bearing with others in love. Becoming people of peace means participating in the life of Jesus who reconciled all things in heaven on earth, restoring peace through his death and resurrection. … True peace requires taking what’s broken and restoring it to wholeness, whether it’s in our lives, our relationships, or in our world.
My question is, what does all this mean for the work of Reconciliation ?
We are reminded by Luther that we have been set free from being curved in upon ourselves and this freedom is for something. We are invited by God to participate in God’s vision for the whole of creation – shalom… a peace which looks like completeness… wholeness… restoration!
As we consider how our communities can participate in reconciliation with our First Nations brothers and sisters, let us consider that this is God’s work, into which we are called.
With National Reconciliation Week coming up (May 27th – June 3rd), we are eager to have a focus on listening to diverse Indigenous perspectives, and the vital role this plays in our schools and specifically in the Service-Learning space.
This year’s National Reconciliation Week theme is,
‘More than a word. Reconciliation takes action.’
Whilst we acknowledge the calling to be active in the reconciliation space, sometimes it can feel daunting understanding where to start – and what ‘action’ to take. We would like to encourage you to think about the part our Service-Learning concepts can play in providing a lens to support this.
To boundary cross into this space of learning and connection, come as guest. Tread gently. Honour the vulnerability of individual and collective stories, understand the power of listening and being truly present. Go beyond what feels familiar and therefore ‘safe’, and allow yourself to be uncomfortable. I don’t think we talk enough about being uncomfortable. I once heard Br Damien Price say something along the lines of, ‘As you continue to learn about the world we live in, don’t be surprised or dismayed at the feeling of unrest in your stomach.’
The Service-Learning concepts look great on paper, and in theory. In practice, we know it takes hard work. Relationships take time and trust. But if we can teach our students (and ourselves) the power of ‘embodying’ the concepts, we are giving them some powerful tools to interact with the world.
“Reconciliation isn’t a single moment or place in time. It’s lots of small, consistent steps, some big strides, and sometimes unfortunate backwards steps …” – Karen Mundine – Chief Executive Officer, Reconciliation Australia
Keep a look out for an email from us with some resources to use during National Reconciliation Week! (More info to come.) We also encourage you to refer to the Reconciliation Australia website.
Helena Lambert & Stephanie Maher
LEQ Identity & Formation