There’s a saying in Hebrew — shalom. Having recently visited Israel and Jerusalem, I understand shalom is a greeting similar to aloha for Hawaiians. You say it for both hello and goodbye. Shalom, which means peace, has a deep meaning. It’s more than just about peace, it means wholeness, and “all is right with the world.” It doesn’t just mean a lack of violence; it means real peace. In our world, we often experience a surface shalom, but not really a deep shalom.
There’s tension in the religious community concerning the space of holy places, history, how things happen, and how people are treated in deeply entrenched tribalism. My argument is if religion went away, I guarantee there would still be the same deep-seated resentments in wars. The impetus would be about different issues, but I think they would still have religious connotations. My theory is that under all these strained relations in politics, religion and culture is tribalism. There is something about humans that desires to belong to a group and a community. Every group and community hinge on narratives — a story. This is our story. And this is why every tribe thinks they’re the righteous ones. We’re the righteous ones!
Friend, this tribalism has an answer. I know you think the answer is Jesus, and you’re right, but Jesus gives us a practical answer: food! Yep, you read that right. There’s nothing like food to bring people and tribes together. Food and hospitality are found all throughout the Bible, and it’s always at the heart of reconciliation. Picture Jesus who is constantly sitting and eating with people He’s not supposed to associate with. To sit and eat with someone was to call them a brother or sister; to call them an equal and which led to reconciliation and healing. We can extend Jesus’ hospitality to other tribes and in turn, gain peace (shalom) and understanding of each other.