Who are the peacemakers? I read with interest the stories of the three women selected as this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winners. I also enjoy this publication’s series on “People Making a Difference,” stories of unsung heroes around the globe whose efforts make for happier and safer lives for millions. They certainly qualify as peacemakers.
I also can name a couple of folks in my city who quietly have gone about doing good, bringing reconciliation to others, if not recognition for themselves. And even in my own family there’s one. I heard for the first time not long ago about one of our sons, who, when in high school, saw an ugly altercation developing between two other young men and then silently placed himself, arms folded, between the quarreling two until the heat abated. So a peacemaker might not be famous. He or she might be the neighbor down the block as well as a Nobel Prize laureate.
That led me to think of one of Christ Jesus’ Beatitudes, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (Matt. 5:9). Clearly, he thought that being a peacemaker was an office worthy of the highest approval of God – His blessing. Bringing peace at any level is a Godly task, one that mirrors the action of the ever-present and healing Christ. Our communities, our legislative bodies, our governments all need more of this Christly activity. The world yearns for peacemakers at every level.
The Bible also declares that all of us, without exception, are children of God. St. Paul wrote, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Rom. 8:16). While he was writing to fellow Christians, Paul didn’t indicate that God draws lines, saying, in effect, “You are my child on this side of the line and you guys on the other side are not my children.” God, Spirit, is all-inclusive. It doesn’t matter whether we are believers or unbelievers, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, or Hindus – we are all His children. It would follow then, that we all are potential peacemakers.
So the ability to bring peace – reconciliation, forgiveness, quieting of anger, stopping personal attacks – lies with each of us. Based on idealism, those peacemaking activities might have good short-term effects. But it seems to me that prayers that acknowledge the all-power of the Eternal lift our do-good activities from the idealistic and moral to the level of divine inspiration. If prayer is our basis for action, our peacemaking efforts can reach the Christ-standard that blesses all, and they will find lasting results.
Such praying might lead us to write to our elected leaders. It might lead us to volunteer in our communities. It might lead us to stretch out our hands to estranged relatives. It also might inspire us to pray specifically about problems in government, in society at large, and about world problems such as famine, war, and poverty. We’re not called upon to be heroic figures, but to do what we can. Perhaps that’s what Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy had in mind when she wrote, “[I]f you cannot bring peace to all, you can to many” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 7). So, for example, when we drive to our children’s athletic events, we can bring a prayer for peace that heals road rage or anger or a short fuse. Just where we are, we can be peacemakers.
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