Kathy Escobar got me thinking today about peacemaking. On Matthew 5:9, she writes:
in this beatitude, the word for peacemaker, is eirēnopoios. what’s interesting is this is the only time it’s used in the bible. the word peace, in the greek, is shalom, which means: completeness, wholeness, safety, soundness, health, friendship in human relationships and with God.
the other beautiful part of shalom is that it is not only about the absence of evil, strive, bad things. it is also the presence of good and positive things. “maker” is an active word. i read it as: “blessed are those who make/participate in/create wholeness, healing, friendship, reconciliation”.
She’s right; peacemaking is an active pursuit. Peace is the work of the children of God. Peaceful living is our calling as preachers of the Gospel.
On a similar theme, Larry Shallenberger writes:
It simply doesn’t matter what we think about atonement if atonement is trapped in the world of theory and not real force in our world. There must be evidence that God is reconciling people and communities to himself.
Yes, and yes again. Peacemaking, I think, is the evidence that Larry is looking for. Congregations that practice peacemaking, that create wholeness and healing, that are friends of each other and friends of the world, that are reconciled to God and preach the message of reconciliation, are evidence of Jesus at work in the world. How the world needs such evidence!
All of this reminded me of John Woolman. He was writing a little before the time of blogs, but this is from his Plea for the Poor:
Oh! that we who declare against wars, and acknowledge our trust to be in God only, may walk in the light, and therein examine our foundation and motives in holding great estates! May we look upon our treasures, and the furniture of our houses, and the garments in which we array ourselves, and try whether the seeds of war have nourishment in these our possessions, or not. Holding treasures in the self-pleasing spirit is a strong plant, the fruit whereof ripens fast.
As Kathy notes, living in this light doesn’t mean that the world will notice today. It doesn’t mean that unjust systems will topple tomorrow.
It does mean, though, that we can live in shalom. What could be better than that?