Letter from the Area Dean - March 2019
Post date: Apr 2, 2019 9:37:28 AM
One of Jesus' most memorable sayings, found in Saint Matthew's Gospel as part of the Sermon on the Mount is, 'blesséd are the peacemakers'; which was misheard in Monty Python's Life of Brian as 'blesséd are the cheese makers'. No doubt cheese makers are as deserving of being blest as anyone else, especially if they make creamy Lancashire(!), but in reality it was peace and not cheese that Jesus was thinking about when he taught the crowds who had gathered to hear him on a Galilean hillside nearly 2000 years ago.
The dictionary defines peace as; freedom from war, noise, disorder, or mental agitation. It describes it as quietness, calm, serenity, and harmony. Not surprising therefore that Jesus regarded those who are able to bring about a state of peace, in whatever context, as being blesséd, because by their actions they confer a blessing on others, and are blest themselves in doing so.
Every year the Nobel Prize Committee awards a Peace Prize to an individual or organization who has made an outstanding contribution to the promotion of peace; past winners have included Martin Luther King (1964), Mother Teresa (1979), Nelson Mandela (1993) which he shared with the then president of South Africa Fredrick de Klerk, American president Jimmy Carter (2002), and in 2014 Malala Yousafzai. All different, but all sharing the distinction of having made a significant difference for good in their particular area of influence.
Interestingly, Jesus not only called peacemakers blesséd he also said they were children of God, meaning that in their actions they reflected the nature and character of God himself.
More than that though, it tells us something of what Jesus understood as being God's highest hope for human society, that it should exist in a state of universal harmony, in which jealousy, rivalry and hostility have disappeared.
Of course you don't need to be on the world stage to be a peacemaker; those who help to establish peace between friends, or family, or in the local community are in that moment also reflecting the nature and character of God, and as such bring about a blessing by their actions. When Christians pray one of the chief topics of their prayer is that peace might be established in the world; may we all seek, by our attitude and action, to be the means by which our prayer is answered.