Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God

Reading: Colossians 3: 12-17

Peace is perhaps the most sought after state in the world and, at the same time, the most elusive. And the word itself, like those of the other beatitudes, conjures up so many different interpretations. It is not merely the absence of conflict nor does it have any lasting value if it is merely imposed by force. In fact, it is not so much a thing to be obtained as a movement, a journey, a way of life that is constantly in the process of becoming.

This beatitude talks about the makers of peace, not peace lovers. There is a vast difference between the two. We can love and yearn for peace from the security of our own ‘camp’ or tribe or culture. To be a peacemaker demands that we get involved, that we risk, that we cross unknown boundaries, that we make some tough decisions which will involve misunderstanding, rejection, even alienation, especially from those who assumed we were on their ‘side.’ To step out into such unknown territory, to keep on building relationships, finding common ground, refusing to label or write people off, always seeking to find something that unites rather than seizing upon that which divides, allowing ourselves to be stretched beyond where we feel we can be stretched, consistently pointing to windows of hope in places of despair – all of this can be a costly, messy lonely business. Who would choose to travel such a road?

There is a sense in which we have no option if we are Christian and have opted to follow the Prince of Peace. To walk with him on such a road will mean a ‘setting of the face’ to go, a making up our minds, knowing that the journey could involve a cross. Where will the strength, the endurance come from? First and foremost we need to become within ourselves people of peace. We find such peace by taking the time to nurture our relationship with Jesus, by discovering the secret of the mutual abiding that we reflected on in John 15. When we experience that then we are well on our way to becoming channels of peace and have a peace that remains with us, no matter what storms we have to face out of having responded to the call to be peacemakers.

And the promise, the blessing that comes from this beatitude is way beyond our wildest imagination. We are called, accepted, known as children of God, God’s friends. And one of the wonderful things about such a calling is that we are welcomed into a huge united yet very diverse family and are awakened to the fact that unity is really diversity embraced by love.

Suggestions for Sharing:

  • What are some of the things that create barriers or walls between us?
  • What are some of the things that build bridges?
  • How have we experienced Jesus breaking down the walls between us?
  • How can we become peacemakers instead of peace lovers?