These five weeks of passages extol the depth, breadth, and living power of shalom—the biblical peace for humanity and all that lives.
Paul enters into this shalom when he envisions “one new humanity in the place of the two” (Ephesians 2:15). Jesus distributes its life-giving wholeness to 5,000 through an abundance of loaves and fishes. Shalom is everything that leads toward a coherent, ever-expanding community based on trust that the earth, and all that is in it, is the Lord’s (Psalm 24:1).
To live in God’s shalom is to strive for peace-giving justice while surrounded by uncertainty. Even as we live in a time of frightening unknowns, the biblical period of the judges—the last of whom is Samuel—is instructive. The judges were rulers, heroes, and defenders of monotheism after Joshua led the people into the Promised Land and before the first kings of Israel.
In these five readings from 2 Samuel, we move from an elegy for Saul into the time of David and a striving for true unity in community. Alas, David is all too human. Human kingdoms—even divinely inspired ones—are fallible. Thankfully, God is merciful. Jesus Christ is sent to embody shalom and model its ways, transforming tragedy at every turn. Then, as now, peace is possible.
Robert Roth is a writer and social activist in East Lansing, Michigan.
Cries for Help
2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27; Psalm 130; 2 Corinthians 8:7-15; Mark 5:21-43
Here is how shalom begins: “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice! (Psalm 130:1-2).