Prepare to Listen. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Prayerfully Read Matthew 5:9-12
9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Peacekeepers are people who oppose and even refuse to participate in war. Often they fear confrontation and give in, whether they agree or not. Peacemakers are more than peacekeepers. They take seriously the call to Christians to “seek peace and pursue it” and “live peaceably with all.” They seek to reconcile quarrels and conflict, engaging in “the ministry of reconciliation” to which all Christians are called. These are the people who “will be called the children of God.”
One morning a group of us were reflecting on these words of Jesus when one asked, ‘Who calls them peacemakers?’ It startled me because I’d always presumed that God does. But that morning we were all challenged to take a second gaze. Who indeed calls another a peacemaker, in other words, God-like? I recalled words of Kathleen Norris who, when asked if she called herself a Christian, replied, “My problem with that is that so many people who publicly identify themselves as Christians are such jerks about it.... I often wondered if being Christian was something we could, or should, claim for ourselves; that if being a Christian meant incarnating the love of Christ in my own life, then maybe it would be best to let others tell me how well, or how badly, I’m doing.” She has a point. Perhaps we should let the world should call us children of God because they experience our peacemaking practices.
What challenged and/or encouraged you in these words of Jesus today?
Respond in Prayer
Jesus your beatitudes challenge how I think about living the Christian life. I’m not sure I’m nearly there yet, so I pray again that you will keep working in me so that my life is as you describe here. Amen.
Live Obediently. Like God our Father, be a peacemaker.
Note: Many, if not all, the Beatitudes are illustrated in stories of Jesus. I will, therefore, highlight that when I see it, using the Beatitude as either the heading or the prayer of preparation. Keep alert to a story that reminds you of one of these Beatitudes.
 Biblical quotes, in order are from 1 Peter 3:11; Romans 12:18; 2 Corinthians 5:18.
 Norris, Kathleen. The Cloister Walk. New York, NY: Riverhead Books. 1996, p. 73.
Despite having frequently read and taught Matthew's Gospel, preparing these daily devotions, taking that second gaze, has surprised me with newness.