FRIDAY, APRIL 8TH
A TIME OF BLESSING
We come for our Friday blessing from our mentor Jesus today. We may be noticing that within some of these blessings there is also a calling – but that calling then returns the blessing. Today, Jesus’s words are few but profound.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:9 NRSV)
As you sit with this blessing, you might gratefully think of the peacemakers in your life. As you think of people of peace, what visible characteristics do you notice? What inner qualities are evident in them? Can you recall a time when you were a peacemaker? What were the challenges? What were your strengths? How might this blessing be a calling for you today? How might this calling be a blessing for you today?
Years ago, I worked as a customer service representative for the phone company. Quite often, I would receive a call from an angry customer, obviously frustrated with an issue, who began the conversation in a tirade before I had a chance to speak. I then would need to be the peacemaker – remaining gracious, kind, and gentle as I tried to help. This was my responsibility as a customer service representative, so I had been well-trained on how to respond, I had the resources to help, and most of the time, I truly wanted to be the helpful peacemaker. But here is the main reason I remained a peacemaker in those situations:
At any time, without my knowledge, my supervisor could remotely listen in on my conversations! 🙂
No, I wasn’t a saint who naturally could keep calm, speak softly, seek understanding, and get past the anger to help the caller. I just recognized that I was the representative of the company – and the company was observing.
Perhaps this could be our useful practice as we try to live as representatives of Christ. In our thoughts, words, and actions, we can bear in mind that Jesus is quietly observing us, too. And through his Spirit, he also provides the resources we need, the wisdom we seek, and the countenance we can keep for our times of frustration and trial. We can be peacemakers as we remember that we are children of God, ever helped and never alone, in every conflict and confusion.
I am certain you also have experienced that special serenity when you were able to remain calm, diffuse someone’s anger, and resolve an issue. Any peacemaking we can do will bring peace to ourselves as well. When we can bring opposing sides together, refrain from “adding fuel to the fire”, and work to bring peace, people will begin to recognize that this visible peace is coming from beyond ourselves. Through this peace revealed in gentleness, kindness, a non-anxious spirit, and a willingness to listen and learn, they will know that we are children of God.
“When things change inside you, things change around you.” —Unknown
Photo by Ramiro Martinez on Unsplash
Bible verse found at https://www.biblegateway.com/
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Ha! great lived experience as an excellent example to make your point, Karen.
Thanks for these reflections to help deepen the meaning of our Lenten season.
These words of the late Marcus Borg struck me well when I read them yesterday: “There are many ways of thinking about the Lenten journey of death and resurrection… one of these meanings is dying to life under the lawgiver and judge [God] and rising to new life as the beloved of God.”
Are you and/or Jim familiar with Borg’s writings?
Cristy! How nice to see you here – thanks for your kind words, my friend. I hope you are doing well!
I actually have been intrigued by Borg’s book title, Convictions, and hope to read that soon. Jim read, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time. and The Meaning of Jesus with N.T. Wright. I will need to get started. I LOVE this quote – thanks for sharing it!
I really truly badly want
to try to offer peace,
but is this just a prideful vaunt
when faced with such as these
whose lives are given to the flame
in which God gets no vote,
and little matter is her name is her name,
they will cut my wife’s throat?
Do I stand aside and pray,
a Christian, although torn?
Or is this the killing-day
in which hours are born
iron gauntlet over glove,
protection for the one I love?
Thank you again for writing, Andrew. Your questions are valid ones we all ask ourselves at times. I have no perfect answer.
For myself, I am fiercely against weapons, choosing instead to try to live without fear and to trust in God’s complete goodness. Would I be able to stand by this if a loved one should be threatened? I do not know…
Thank you, as always, for your insightful and thought-provoking words.
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And, my friend, there is the day
I know not where I am,
in a peaceful world at play
or right back in The Nam,
hard up by the DMZ,
days of way back when,
baking red earth’s all I see
’round bunkers of Con Then.
They say that there is peace somewhere,
but maybe I am wrong,
and I don’t know if they care,
the NVA and Cong,
and I don’t know if it’s time past,
but this damn war just seems to last.
The Place Where Angels Dwell.
Understood, my friend. And I’m sorry.
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