This week we are studying the seventh beatitude – Blessed are the Peacemakers for they shall be called Sons of God. Please read through John Stott’s questions in The Beatitudes: Developing Spiritual Character and his use of Ephesians 2:11-22 in discussing this beatitude.
Martin Luther begins his commentary (attached) by saying that “Here the Lord honors with a high title and excellent praise those who find pleasure in diligently trying to make peace, not only so far as they are themselves concerned, but also among other people, that they may help to settle ugly and tangled disputes, endure contention, guard against and prevent war and bloodshed.” In the first instance, being a peacemaker means us being peaceable with others. Throughout the Sermon, Jesus speaks of us being peaceable. Jesus commands that we be reconciled to our estranged brother before appearing before God. Matt. 5:24. Jesus overturns the Biblical rule of an eye-for-eye and commands that we turn the other cheek. Matt 5:39. And we are to love and pray for our enemies (which would include opposition presidential candidates). Matt 5:44.
After having peace with others, we are to bring peace to others. In the early church, we see the apostles going out to make peace among all people. If you have time, read about the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15. The great controversy in the early church concerned the admission of Gentiles without requiring them to first convert to Judaism. To resolve the conflict, the apostles and the elders gathered to consider the matter and reach a consensus opinion for the whole church. When Paul writes the Philippians, he seeks to bring together two women in disagreement. Phil 4:2-3. And, in his correspondence to the Corinthians, Paul’s overriding purpose was to reconcile the divisions within that congregation. 1 Cor. 1:10-17. We too are called to bring peace to others.
But even beyond the temporal realm, we are called, like the apostles, to teach and bring the peacemaking reconciliation of Christ to the world. In Ephesians, Paul speaks of how Jesus brings those who are alienated from God to reconciliation with God in the Church, through the cross, which thereby brings to an end all hostility both with God and with others. Eph. 2:16. And it is through this reconciliation between God and man that brings that peace which passes all understanding. Phil 4:7. To be a peacemaker, is to bring this Divine peace into the world.
Dinner is at 6. The menu is gourmet macaroni and cheese. Discussion about 6:45. Please bring a friend. Hope to see you here.
Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and for ever. Amen.Collect for Peace ,1979 BCP 815.