Summer playground After hot days touring Montreal earlier in July, our youngest daughter encouraged that evenings be spent in a tree-shaded playground near where we were staying. Three parents and three children were usually already on the playground. One parent spoke English, another French and the third Spanish. No matter what language the parents spoke, each child and adult seemed to understand in the universal language of play. I learned that the English-speaking parent was from Israel and had moved to Montreal when she married a Canadian. Her first language is Hebrew and as we left at night, she reminded me of the word learned in Sunday School so many years ago: “Shalom.”
More than just “hello” or “good-bye”, I remember excited Sunday School teachers explaining that “shalom” means the completeness and wholeness we know in a life lived in God. As an adult, I again look up Shalom’s Biblical meaning. “Completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord,” writes one commentator.  What a long, wonderful list — No wonder those teachers were so enamored with “Shalom”!
Summer lets us experience so much Shalom: children playing outside, lighter clothing, green surroundings, vacation time with family and friends, anniversary celebrations, barbecues, tending gardens, birds teaching their young to fly. Summer offers much to restore and renew ourselves in God.
Yet in this goodness, we also know of people who are ill or who have lost loved ones. We listen to news reports such as those of war between Palestinians and Israel.
May we renew and restore ourselves in the Spirit of God in the goodness that is Summer while praying words of Shalom for our world.  — Shelley Den Haan, Newsletter Editor