I've again not been much of a blogger, as we come to the end of a frenetic first quarter. We have formed into a new High School community with new students from here and abroad. The Class of 2014 has had an impressive start and seem at home already. We have encountered difficulty and pain as well. Two of our faculty members have been hospitalized and have had extended absences from school. We also seem to have had more than our normal share of student injuries, with more crutches and boots than I can ever remember at one time in our halls. And recently, we experienced a great loss with the passing of Mr. Doug Willmann, the father of Josh Willmann '11. We continue to mourn this terrible loss.
It is at times like these when the vision of the prophets comes most clearly into focus. Better than any words I could write, I want to share a quote I stumbled upon from Dr. Cornelius Plantinga, the President of Calvin Seminary. (His book Engaging God's World: A Christian Vision of Faith, Learning, and Living is a central piece for how we think about theological integration.) In his work Not the Way It's Supposed to Be: A Breviary on Sin, he writes:
The prophets knew how many ways human life can go wrong because they knew how many ways human life can go right. (You need the concept of a wall on a plumb to tell when one is off.). These prophets kept dreaming of a time when God would put things right again.
They dreamed of anew age in which human crookedness would be straightened out, rough places made plain. The foolish would be 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 call 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 doors and welcomes the creatures in whom he delights. Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be.
We all await that day.