“I will open my mouth to speak in parables; I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 13:35)
Story telling with a purpose is often a most effective way of teaching. Many of us have used this approach or benefited from this approach in teaching and learning life lessons. A fun story with interesting images can be much easier to receive and remember than a fact-filled lecture. Stories I recall from both my learning and teaching experiences include the stories of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”, “The Tortoise and the Hare”, and “The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing”. The lessons of the importance of truth telling, slow and steady wins the race, and cautiousness regarding first appearances have been most valuable and preserved. Sometimes even a single image expresses far more than a plethora of words. Consider such expressions as: “slow as molasses”, “sharp as a tack”, “between a rock and a hard spot”, “hand in the cookie jar”, “fight like cats and dogs”, “needle in a haystack”.
Jesus often used story telling with a purpose and simple images in his teaching. Jesus often spoke in image-rich parables. Jesus used parables and images to describe the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven, the reign of God, community as God designed and desires. Shalom is a Hebrew word meaning peace, wholeness, well-being. One might use this word in reference to the reign of God, in reference to community as God designed and desires. The word “Salem” is derived from the term Shalom. Salem can describe both where we are located as Grace Church and who we are called to be as Grace Church. Matthew 13 includes seven brief parables/images Jesus uses to describe the kingdom of heaven, the shalom of God. In our fall worship series, “Shalom on Salem; Seeds, Treasure, Pearls and Nets”, we will be carefully examining these parables and images. What can we, as Grace Church on Salem Ave., learn regarding who we are and who we can be as part of the Shalom of God? The parables of Matthew 13 can help us most effectively visualize, vision, and continue recalling all God calls us to be. Please plan to participate and invite others to participate in “Shalom on Salem”, our fall worship series beginning September 11.
Shalom to you.