Saturday, February 15, 2014

Deep Peacemaking

God knows we need peacemakers. We do not need more young American soldiers coming home with missing limbs, traumatic brain injuries, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We need peacemakers to stop the carnage of our nation’s bravest youth.

When I see on the evening news the bodies of children killed by chemical weapons, rows of civilians buried in mass graves, and refugees huddled in border camps, I know we need peacemakers.

We need as many peacemakers willing to die for peace as we have soldiers willing to die in war. It takes the same degree of commitment and patriotism to be a peacemaker as to be a soldier.

Now that American involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan is winding down, we need national leaders willing to embrace peacemaking. We need politicians in both major parties willing to develop an economic and a foreign policy based on peacemaking. We need peacemakers.

Jesus was a peacemaker. That is why he was the Son of God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” But Jesus did not make peace through political legislation or governmental action. He knew governments do not have the power to make peace. The most they can accomplish is a momentary cessation of hostilities.

Jesus made deep peace. Jesus made peace by digging the root of war out of the human heart. Jesus’ brother James wrote, “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war.”

Wars on earth are simply manifestations of wars waged in human hearts. The only way to rid the world of war is to rid the heart of warring. This is how Jesus makes peace. He said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.” 

This is the peace that the apostle Paul describes as “the peace of God which transcends all human understanding.” The deepest peace is heart peace. Only when we experience heavenly peace, can we make earthly peace. As the song says, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” Any other peace is nothing more than a temporary truce.

The apostle Paul wrote to a Roman military colony in Macedonia and described peace as a garrison guarding our hearts through prayer. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Elsewhere he wrote, “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts.” “For He Himself is our peace.” Paul opened most of his letters with the words, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Christ is Peacemaker. His is our Peace. By his grace the Prince of Peace brings peace into the world … through us. Then we are daughters and sons of God.


Art is Imago Dei 2 - Peace Makers. Art Quilt: cotton, rayon, pearl cotton thread, by Shin-Hee Chin

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