When I think of peacemakers I have either met or read about, blessed or happy do not immediately come to mind. I am more likely to ascribe an adjective of long-suffering to peacemakers, to those hungering for righteousness, to those showing mercy, even to those who seek purity of mind.
Happy: those hungering and thirsting for justice, for they will be fed.
Happy: the compassionate, for they will have compassion.
Happy: the clean of [heart | mind], for they will see God.
Happy: the peacemakers, for they will be called child of God.
— Matthew 5:6-9 (author’s translation)
When I have and the pleasure of acting the peacemaker I quickly found myself in the midst of tense individuals who had divided into factions pro and con with no easy middle ground. Individuals who clearly demonstrated that something that they valued was threatened by those opposing them. Frequently there have been side issues that resulted in factions that crossed and complicated the presenting issue. Unlike sporting events, these individuals wore no easily identified uniforms or logos. Further some would mute their opinions showing only their unease, knowing that no matter what they said someone would be offended. In these groups would be bullies and victims. And victims might as any throw the first insult. Perhaps once all is resolve a peacemaker might be called a child of God, but until that fleeting moment they are more likely to be called a son of something else. Further the reward for doing this well once is to be called into even more complicated and tense situations. “Blessed?”
Some people view the Beatitudes as future blessings. Blessings received when we have arrived in heaven. But scholarly translators, those most familiar with Greek syntax and grammar insert a present tense verb; “Blessed ARE the peacemakers …” This blessing has present day implications for there is no greater pleasure for me than to be in service to my community and to the Kingdom of Heaven.
I will have more to say about the 5th chapter of Matthew’s Gosple on Sunday, January 29th, 2017 at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.
Robert Shaw, Pastor