Matthew 5:3–12 He said: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
What is the difference between a peacekeeper and a peacemaker? God calls us to more than peacekeeping, which is passive. He calls us to peacemaking, which is active. God does not call us to maintain the status quo, to accept what has always been. God calls us to peacemaking, to the bringing of heaven to earth. In order to make peace, we have to challenge any belief, system, idea, thought or practice that leads to disunity. In order to make peace, we have to do the deep inner work of trusting Christ to lead us into self-reflection, growth, and conversations with others that may be uncomfortable.
In order to make true peace, we have to examine who in our world is marginalized, and we have to elevate their needs in order to create unity and harmony. This type of peacemaking is kingdom work. God ordains this peacemaking, and He tells us that in this work, we are blessed. To paraphrase Maya Angelou’s work Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem, peace is not just the absence of war but rather a harmony among all spirits. When have you felt true harmony in a place? Imagine if the Church was full of harmonious spirits, committed to deeply understanding one another and advocating for one another!
In endeavoring to make peace and create harmony, we will face challenges both within ourselves and among others. Peacemaking turns what the world values upside down. In peacemaking, we challenge old patterns of behavior and thinking, and we challenge ideas and systems that give some people more power and more value than other people. In the same passage that God calls us to peacemaking, He also tells us that we are blessed when we mourn, blessed when we are meek, blessed when we are merciful, blessed when we are pure-hearted, and blessed when we have broken spirits.
In the same way that peacemaking turns the world upside down, so does God’s teaching that we are blessed when we embody these postures. God knows we will experience many difficulties in peacemaking and harmony creation, but He promises to be with us in creating this shalom.
Lord, Prince of Peace, please guide me in the way of peacemaking, not peacekeeping. Give me clarity and help me discern in what areas of life I am just accepting the status quo. Reveal to me opportunities for deeper learning and engagement with people who are different from me. Break my heart for what breaks yours. Help me to make peace daily, even when it’s uncomfortable and even when my spirit is broken. Teach our church body how to make true peace in our community of Southwest Charlotte and beyond. Guide our church body into true reconciliation and true harmony. Thank you for your goodness and mercy, every day of our lives.