“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” If Jesus is known as the Prince of Peace [foretold in Isaiah 9:6], then to follow Him means we are at peace with all that He was and taught, that we are at peace with ourselves and with everyone else. There are no enemies, no judgments, no arms, nothing that is against peace for all people. And not only are we to be at peace in our lives, we are to be peacemakers in this world.
Let’s look at the roots of the ancient Greek words. Lahwvday, peacemakers, “refers to those who not only make or perform an action but also are committed to it. The old roots call up more images of planting, tilling the ground, laboring regularly, bringing forth fruit and celebrating. The emphasis is on that which is done periodically and regularly—despite the odds…” Plowing the ground, planting the seeds of peace, weeding the other stuff that arises—all speak of a commitment to follow through and make sure peace is attained.
“The word for peace ,shlama, is essentially the same as that used throughout the Middle East for thousands of years as a greeting. It also means health, safety, a mutual agreement that saves a difficult situation, any happy assembly… Peace is a greeting, a state of mind, an agreement, a getting together in a positive way, settling all differences. Peace is the result of all parties eventually dropping their differences. It is not a surface agreement, it gets to the heart of the issues.
“The word for children, dawnawhie, refers to any embodiment, emanation or active production from that which was only potential before.” We children of God, the heirs of Christ, embody peace as a potential until we have achieved purity of heart and holiness. And we are invited by the Spirit of that holiness to actively seek peace wherever we are called. In some ways we bring the peace we live in to every encounter even without the call.
“The roots of the word translated as ‘shall be called,’ nitgarum, also present the beautiful image of digging a channel or well that allows water to flow. In this sense, as we ‘plant peace’ we become channels or fountains for hastening the fulfillment of the divine will.” We allow water to flow where it didn’t flow before. That is a beautiful image of the water of peace flowing among all parties.
Commitment, peaceful presence, emanation of peace and peace flowing like water from a well. John R. W. Stott writes that “peacemaking is a divine work. For peace means reconciliation, and God is the author of peace and of reconciliation. … It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the particular blessing which attaches to peacemakers is that ‘they shall be called sons of God.’ For they are seeking to do what their Father has done, loving people with his love.”
Or this is how Dietrich Bonhoeffer in The Cost of Discipleship puts it: “The followers of Jesus have been called to peace. When he called them they found their peace, for he is their peace. But now they are told that they must not only have peace but make it. And to that end they renounce all violence and tumult.” Peace is a state of mind and heart. It is an emanation from the deepest self. And it is our calling as followers of Christ.
Bringing peace wherever we go, bringing together folks who disagree, sometimes violently, is not a comfortable place to be. Sometimes we suffer criticism or even spend time in jail and be put to death like Bonhoeffer. Look at Paul’s journey throughout the Mediterranean Sea. He was hated, beaten, imprisoned, almost shipwrecked and more. And yet there he was bringing peace and the Gospel to Jews. Gentiles and believers. Yet this might be the cross we have to bear in order to be faithful to God. What makes these sufferings so different from most pain and suffering is that God is there, Christ is with you in the suffering. And for Bonhoeffer and Paul, they converted so many people while they were in prison, because they were at peace with their lot, with their God. Children of God, they “walked forth” in peace, knowing the presence of Christ.
Questions to ponder over the week: Am I at peace with myself, with my God, with my neighbor? If I am not, then what do I need to give up to achieve peace in my life: my will, my judgment, my assumptions about life, my expectations? Have I accepted the peace of Christ? [John 14:27] Is my heart troubled? Am I afraid? How can I reconcile myself to all that Christ has offered me?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who are at peace in our hearts and minds and souls. May we offer the peace of Christ to everyone we meet. May we rest in Christ’s arms.
An Invitation to All of Us to Pray for our nation, for mercy and compassion for all, for community values and a deep sense of caring for each other. For peace. For love to reign. For a return to a love of God. For us to have“one nation under God” as our motto again. If many of us would pray these things for our country, we could change the world. Invite your friends and neighbors to pray with us. in love and faith, Pat
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 Neil Douglas-Klotz, Prayers of the Cosmos: Reflections on the Original Meaning of Jesus’s Words, HarperOne, NY, 1990, p. 66