From the Pastor
THE BEATITUDES: PORTRAIT OF THE MASTER
PART 8: BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9).
The concept of peace in the Bible is much broader than simply the absence of war. It is a state of being and a way of living defined by wholeness and harmony with the world rooted in fidelity to God: “If you live in accordance with my precepts and are careful to observe my commandments, I will give you rain in due season, so that the land will bear its crops, and the trees their fruit; your threshing will last till vintage time, and your vintage till the time for sowing, and you will have food in abundance, so that you may dwell securely in your land. I will establish peace in the land, so that you may lie down to rest without anxiety. I will rid the country of ravenous beasts, and keep the sword of war from sweeping across your land…I will look with favor upon you, and make you fruitful and numerous, as I carry out my covenant with you” (Leviticus 26:3-6, 9).
This broader sense of peace and wholeness was God’s plan for his people from the beginning, but the people were not faithful, breaking peace with God. So God allowed them to be conquered by foreign powers and exiled from their land. His plans for them were not finished however, and through Isaiah he prophesied a new era of peace through a new, faithful king: “The people who walked in darkness have a seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shown…For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father- Forever, Prince of Peace. His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, from David’s throne, and over his kingdom, which he confirms and sustains by judgment and justice both now and forever” (Isaiah 9:1, 5-6).
Jesus is the long-awaited savior prophesied by Isaiah (Matthew 4:13-16) who came to make peace between God and his people: “For in him the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross, whether those on earth or in heaven. And you who once were alienated and hostile in mind because of evil deeds he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through his death, to present you holy and without blemish, and irreproachable before him” (Colossians 1:19-23). By doing so, he also makes peace among the people who have made peace with God in Jesus: “But now in Christ you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh…that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it. He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father” (Ephesians 2:13-18).
This is the peace that Christ calls his disciples to make, to make peace with God and peace with one another in Christ. By doing so, we continue Christ’s saving, reconciling mission. That is why peacemakers will be called children of God, because we will be united with the Son of God in doing the Father’s will, preaching peace near and far and working for the day when all will be one in him (John 17:20-23).
Fr. Marc Stockton
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