Making Peace (07-11-20)
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said…
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:1-2,9)
You Gentiles by birth, called "the uncircumcised" by the Jews, who call themselves the circumcised… remember what you were in the past. At that time you were apart from Christ. You were foreigners and did not belong to God's chosen people… But now, in union with Christ Jesus you, who used to be far away, have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For Christ himself has brought us peace by making Jews and Gentiles one people. With his own body he broke down the wall that separated them and kept them enemies. He abolished the Jewish Law with its commandments and rules, in order to create out of the two races one new people in union with himself, in this way making peace. By his death on the cross Christ destroyed their enmity; by means of the cross he united both races into one body and brought them back to God.
At this time when we remember those who have given their lives in wars and battles so that we might live in peace and freedom, it seems appropriate that the beatitude we are reflecting on today is ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God’.
I often wonder about the difference between peacemakers and peacekeepers, and whether it is significant that Jesus blessed the peacemakers, rather than the peacekeepers. The image I have of a peacekeeper is someone who stands between two people in conflict and tries to keep them apart, while the image I have of a peacemaker is someone who stands between two people in conflict and tries to bring them together.
In his death and resurrection, Jesus is the ultimate peacemaker, bringing us peace with God and, as Paul writes to the Ephesians, breaking down the barriers between people so that peace becomes a possibility.
There are many issues today that have the potential for conflict; issues of politics, religion, race, gender, sexuality, age, wealth and class, each conflict fuelled by posturing, inflammatory statements and demonstrations that become violent. But behind the sensational headlines in our news bulletins there are people, often unnoticed, quietly working away for peace and reconciliation. Let us pray for God’s continued blessing on these people.
In most of these ‘newsworthy’ conflicts there is little more we can do than pray. But there are also less visible conflicts crying out for peacemakers; there are conflicts in our homes, our churches, our communities and our workplaces. Where we are aware of such situations, can we step away from the arguments and the posturing, can we move beyond the rights and the wrongs, and work with God to find a way forwards that will bring peace, reconciliation and blessing?
Let us pray for the peacemakers in the more prominent conflicts in our nation and our world, and let us commit to doing what we can as peacemakers in the conflicts that are closer to home.
Lord, make me a channel of your peace, where there is hatred let me bring your love,
where there is injury, your pardon, Lord, and where there’s doubt, true faith in You.
Make me a channel of your peace.