As you read and reflect on today’s beatitude, please listen to this track from contemporary Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. We will feature this track throughout Lent.
Jesus speaks God’s blessing over the most unlikely people: the poor in spirit, the meek, and the mournful. Now Jesus adds to that list of blessed people, the peacemakers. They are God’s children and close cousins to the merciful and pure in heart. As they long for righteousness, and yet are meek and merciful, they are perfectly suited as God’s ambassadors for making peace.
“Blessed are the peacemakers”, says Jesus. His words sound innocuous enough to go on a greeting card. But those who have gone about the hard work of making peace know that it can often be messy and resented. One might wonder what world Jesus lives in when He declares peacemakers as blessed by God!
Benjamin Franklin sometimes doubted whether peacemaking was possible. Weary from many diplomatic missions, he wrote to John Adams in 1781: “Blessed are the peacemakers is, I suppose, to be understood in heaven, for in this world they are frequently cursed” (Alfred Owen Aldridge, Benjamin Franklin: Philosopher and Man). It can take a lot of courage and love to insert oneself into the middle of a fight.
William Barclay notes the difference between a peacemaker and a peace-lover, the difference between wanting peace and wanting appeasement:
The blessing is on the peace-makers, not necessarily the peace-lovers. It very often happens that if a man loves peace in the wrong way, he succeeds in making trouble and not peace. We may, for instance, allow a threatening and dangerous situation to develop, and our defense is that for peace’s sake we do not want to take any action. There is many a person who thinks he is loving peace, when in fact he is piling up trouble for the future, because he refuses to face the situation and to take the action which the situation demands (The Gospel of Matthew: The New Daily Study Bible).
Surely this leads us to search our hearts as we follow Jesus: are we truly peacemakers?
PONDER AND PRAY
“I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you also my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the Gospel.”—Philippians 4:2-3
- Euodia and Syntyche were two women who had been faithful servants alongside Paul in the Gospel ministry. Now they are at odds. How would you have recommended the Philippians go about helping Euodia and Syntyche to make peace?
- Do you know a “Euodia” and “Syntyche” who need a peacemaker? If you do, why not begin by first praying for them right now?
- Pray: “Lord, fill me with courage to disrupt false peace around me when needed. Give me wisdom and prudence to be a true peacemaker” (Emotionally Healthy Spirituality).
- What do you want To Say to God?