Saturday, November 20, 2010

Peacemakers Are Special

There’s something special about peacemakers

In all the copies of my Bibles I find Jesus saying, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God." It has been my impression that this was not a sound bite. This was not just an off-the-cuff remark. Peace making was not just a passing fancy of his. It was not just a good quote his hearers to jotted down in their discipleship study books.

Jesus knew the subject of peace was not considered important to his hearers. Coming from Nazareth, how could he know the problems of Jerusalem, the great City of David. What made a carpenter’s son think he knew anything about the real world of dog eat dog. “Git ‘em, afore they git us” was not the national anthem of Israel, but of the whole universe.

Jesus did know his Bible (the Christian Old Testament) and knew the history of his people. He knew that for centuries king after king led them into bloody wars. He knew too of the society and laws never helped the poor or outcast among them.

Seldom on the table for discussion (then and now) were peaceful remedies to problems. The Roman Pax was anything but a peaceful solution for the empire. Jesus also knew that the different sects of Israel had little love for each other. Too many wanted to fight. Sling shot trigger-fingers were always cocked. A few knew there had to be a better way to work out their differences with their spouse, or town councils of the immigrants in their midst.

Jesus knew his audience just as he does today. His disciples were keen on fighting just as churches of all labels apparently do. Jesus’ disciples probably talked behind his back, such as:

“You suppose he is serious?” “Nobody talks of peace with those depraved half-breed Samaritans next door.” “How can he know God with such talk?” “Other countries have a God of War.” “You can tell he ain’t got a wife like mine…a mother-in-law like mine…problems like mine.”

The rabbis, with all their knowledge of ancient times, could quote without end of how God’s armies vanquished the enemy. How the God of their Bible sent Joshua out to destroy the original Canaanites. The Prophet Jonah had no sympathy for Nineveh even after he saved them. The Apostle Peter refused to eat with the hated Gentiles. He knew they were bad. He had heard nothing else from birth.

Social scientists tell us the first few years of an infant’s life are molding and nourishing the brain. If those precious (once in a lifetime) years are filled with goodness there is hope for that child. A pattern is laid that affects all the years of life. Any kind of trauma for that infant is present all their days.

When children are traumatized by war, they are more apt to become warriors and killers too. What will the next 80 years be like for the children of Iraq and Afghanistan?

Thanks to being unprovoked into two wars the last decade we should expect hatred and violence to come America’s way. Around the world people love America and hate our government. A vast majority of the world want love and peace. While most governments want conflict and the ability to cover it up.

It’s a mystery to me why some Christians make up excuses for violence and war. So few Christians go all out and “take him at his word…” as in the hymn:

'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus/

Just to rest upon His promise/
Just to know, Thus saith the Lord

We sing ‘em, but it’s more fun when we believe ‘em.

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