Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Searching For Shalom

This morning I was trying to figure out what I had to say in the midst of a week that included a Royal Wedding, the assassination of Osama bin Laden, and a Canadian election that has left me baffled and for the time being speechless. And then I saw a book sitting on my desktop "Searching for Shalom" by Ann Weems and it helped me rediscover the longing of my heart. To be honest it is the title itself that brings me to pause and take a deep breath but the poem may help orient our lives.
Searching For Shalom

I keep searching for shalom,
drawing my water from one well after another
-but still I thirst
for the shower of blessing that is shalom.

I yearn for life to be just and merciful adn peaceful,
but the streets are filled with daily deaths
of spirit and of flesh....
but no shalom.

I keep searching for shalom,
away from crowds and commotion,
but peace and quiet don't blot the pain
of broken hearts and broken bodies.

I keep searching for shalom,
thinking perhaps I'll find it in a quiet field of flowers
or in star or sea or snow,
but still the innocent are trampled.

I keep searching for shalom,
standing in holy places,
sitting among saints.
Surely in the sanctuary I will find shalom.

I keep searching for shalom,
but holy places are not magic.
Good works and printed prayers
don't guarantee shalom.

Beyond cathedral walls and above ethereal music,
the blaring din of death persists.
Back in the streets, the people walk in darkness.

I keep searching for shalom.
I have pursued and sought it.
Have I looked in all the wrong places?

What is this bonding,
this glue among us, this cohesiveness
that holds us in the hope of shalom?

The longing won't die.
the hope keeps emerging like a new sprout
that perseveres on the stump of a felled tree.

Even in the daily barrage of obscenities
some new star melts into my eyes
and the promise persists.

Here in the darkness some new light
stirs within me.
Here in the streets I find shalom.

Shalom lives not in the sanctuary,
but in the streets....
in chaos
on a cross.

In the face of Jesus is the peace
that passes all understanding
the everlasting Sabbath...

-Ann Weems

1 comment: