Posted on August 16, 2015
Blessed : When you work for justice and peace (A series on the Beatitudes)
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9
Peacemaker = One who reconciles quarrels
A Peacemaker therefore, is one who works to restore friendly relations between family-members, between friends, between enemies, between countries, between political parties, between co-workers.
I happen to live in a bubble. A resident of a sleepy suburban city in Southern California, cars in the driveway, food in the refrigerator, I am well-insulated from the struggles of those less privileged than me. I can drive less than 100 miles in any direction and be confronted with poverty on many levels, but my day-to-day life does not present itself with many opportunities to view the struggles of those less fortunate than me. Or does it?
It’s easy to look past the guy out in the sun on this 100 degree day drying my car while I sit inside the air-conditioned lobby waiting for him to wave his hand and call me to my clean, freshly washed car. Or the woman standing in the sun with a cardboard sign asking for help because she lost her job. My Facebook feed is full of causes that my friends, family and acquaintances are promoting. It seems every day I hear about someone else who was killed, white on black, black on brown. Entering into an election year, we hear candidates battling it out, promoting their views at the expense of defaming someone else.
During the time in history when Jesus was teaching the people what the Kingdom of God was like, the order and rule of the day was “Pax Romana” or, the Peace of Rome. Israel lived under Roman rule, and the Jewish people despised it. Over-taxed, over-burdened and under-valued, the Peace of Rome was anything but peaceful for the Jews. And isn’t that how it always is? “Peace” for some comes at the expense of others. Those on top have peace. Those on the bottom bear the weight of injustice. The idea of “restoring friendly relations” between Jews and Rome was likely not high on the list of “must-do’s” for the average Jewish citizen.
“In the Kingdom of God, the ones who work for peace, the ones who reconcile, they are the blessed ones.”
What? The Peace of Rome is no peace at all. Why on earth would he tell us to work for peace? Reconcile with Rome? Restore “friendly relations” with Rome? Never!
But this is what the Kingdom of God is like. The manipulation of political power, economic power, and religious power doesn’t exist in God’s Kingdom. The upside is down. Those who pursue peace at the expense of injustice don’t really have peace at all. Those who make peace, reconciling injustices, they are blessed.
I am tempted to ask God where he wants me to be a peacemaker… where he wants me to work for justice. Instead I stop and remind myself that God asks me to be a peacemaker everywhere… to work for justice in all things. It’s there I’ll find the Kingdom of God.
How about you?
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