Blessed are the peacemakers
By Dr. Jim Riley
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9
In this Beatitude, Jesus points to the characteristic that His followers must have in order to make a difference in the world. We are to bring peace to a divided troubled world. We are to overcome racism, bigotry, hatred, and selfishness. Our world teaches us to look after “number 1” and no one else. Jesus teaches us to look after the other guy. To be peacemakers is to look to help others, especially those who are outside your circle of friends, and outside our comfort zones. Be a bridge to those who are not like you. Bring unity to where there is division.
During this presidential election year, we see how divided people can be. In our city, we see in the news how people resort to violence and killings. Value for human life is disregarded. We need peacemakers today.
We recall one of our country’s great peacemakers, Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was an incredible person who stood up to end segregation and bring peace between the races. His method was to bring reconciliation and racial unity through the means of a nonviolent resistance movement.
Rev Dr. Ray Bowden was a pastor I served with on the staff of Second Presbyterian Church. Ray was a part of the civil rights movement to end segregation in the South. In the 1960s Ray traveled from his home in Chicago to walk alongside those who marched from Selma to Montgomery AL. He was a member of those who were called Freedom Riders, who stood against the segregation of public transportation.
Dr. King gave one of history’s most famous and powerful speeches when he spoke on August 28, 1963, in Washington, DC:
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream … I have a dream that one day in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”
Dr. King knew that we needed faith in God to bring our nation together in peace with one another. He said, “This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.”
Dr. King undeniably had faith in Christ. He knew without the peace of Christ, there could be no peace on earth. There is no peace without knowing Christ.
At the cross, Jesus died to bring us peace.
First Jesus brought peace between us and God. He broke down the barrier between us and God.
Second, Jesus brought peace among us. He broke down the barriers among the races, the nations, and all the divisions of distrust, hatred, and anger. He is our Peace and the only hope of bringing peace to our world.