Blessedness and Peacemaking

In Lent 23 by Bruce LogueLeave a Comment

Pursue peace with everyone and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God, that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble and through it many become defiled.

Hebrews 12:14-15

Isaiah gave his readers a preview of what God is up to in the world. It is a staggering, stunning, world-changing vision that is not instinctive to human beings. His words? In the days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains….all the nations shall stream to it….so that he may teach us his ways…[and] they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks….neither shall they learn war anymore. Isaiah 2:1-8.

John Dear writes that the peacemaking Beatitude “throws out thousands of years of belief in a violent God and….does away with any spiritual justification for warfare.” Follow the Call, page 63. This Beatitude unites with the Old Testament and shows that it has never been God’s intention that we should become warmongers.

The book of Revelation also removes any surprise about Isaiah’s prediction because Revelation’s hero is a “slaughtered Lamb.” Not a lamb charging into battle with his AK-47 and full battle gear. During his 3-year ministry, Christ resisted the notion that “only the strong survive.” In the ethos of the Kingdom, the last will be first. The weak will be strong.

Jesus warned Peter that “those who live by the sword will die by the sword.” Matthew 26:52.

The writer of Hebrews captures the proactive point of view of this Beatitude. Jesus pronounces congratulations on the one who MAKES peace. Not just a peace lover. By the same token, Hebrews instructs us to PURSUE peace. Again, it is not a passive, laissez-faire kind of approach to relationships, but rather one in which the disciple of Jesus actively seeks to have peace as a characteristic of his/her relationships.

Finally, the one who, earlier in the Beatitudes, is characterized as meek, does not seek conflict. Instead, they subdue passion in order to do whatever Christ instructs us to do. Passion gives way to intention, motivation, and loving action. Peacemaking is the outcome.

Prayer: God of peace. The One who went without resisting to the cross. The one who forgave his tormentors. We ask for your strength to overcome the temptations we have to stick against, protest, and otherwise work against the peace to which you have called us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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