*Welcome to a new, semi-regular series that I’m calling the “Shalom People.” Amber and I have the privilege of knowing some very good, gospel bearing people. They may not be perfect. They may be prone to wander like the rest of us. But they seek shalom –peace, completeness, restoration — and share it with others. We want to share their stories with you.
It is Sunday night and we gather to hear David and Melody Murray, gospel workers in Dehra Dun, India. They stand on a tiny stage at Mama Carmen’s, David holding his newest guitar, Melody holding a meticulously hand-crafted purse. They have stories to share but the crowd is unruly, decidedly American. The two Murray’s wait patiently, finally enlisting a former Navy-man to quiet us. “Hey,” he says in his best Petty Officer voice, “they want to talk!”
Melody steps to the microphone, begins to slowly spin yarns. She works with the town women, she says. She tells us that they are beautiful, skillful, and peaceful women. “They are a grateful,” she says, “women learning gospel restoration and purpose.” Melody casts vision, speaks of creative ladies who can hand dye fabric with the precision that rivals industrial machinery. “They spin high quality stuff,” she says, “and we pay them a fair wage.” Melody says that the women are “restoring the fabric of Shalom” in Dehra Dun. She speaks in the parables that she knows.
David is a luthier, a maker of custom guitars. He planes wood to the appropriate thickness, uses tools to bend Indian rosewood into the curves of a beautiful body. His shop is full of young men, former addicts who learn the craft of guitar-making. “Why don’t you look into Jesus,” he asks them as they work, “He’s got the answer that you need.” His workers love Larry Norman. And Neil Young, too. David could have been Van Morrison in another life. But in this life, he shares parables of Shalom through Christ-conformity as he eases wooden planks into a useful shape. He teaches his carpenter friends in woodworking parables. He shares those same parables with us over warm chai.
Meet the Murrays. Shalom People.