Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God (v. 9).
A ministry program I once served held a children’s day camp with a theme based on this verse. During one of the activities, leaders invited the children to express what peace looks like to them. Their words and art gradually filled the sanctuary space. When I looked over the children’s simple, profound expressions, my view of the future church and the world grew more hopeful. While I don’t recall all of the words or images I saw, I remember the feelings and reflections they provoked in me. It was a gift to look at peace through the eyes of these children who conveyed their many cultures, traditions, gifts, and perspectives on the canvas.
I had studied the subject of peace and conflict in university courses but had rarely considered the topic from a child’s point of view. Watching our children explore this topic through activities, projects, discussions, and the arts that summer nurtured something new in me. What they learned during that time about new ways to share peace with each other will always stay with me.
Their eagerness to learn about peacemaking inspired me to read and study more about peace and conflict. Peace and reconciliation groups, like the Corrymeela Community in Northern Ireland, teach new and effective practices to help foster peace. I used to think that peace was largely focused on global concerns. But as I’ve continued to listen, pray, and discover over the years, I’ve learned that making peace needs to happen at all levels of our lives—within ourselves, within our relationships, and within our communities. Being peacemakers in each of these places helps create the kind of change and healing our world needs.
What does it mean for me to be a peacemaker today?
Loving God, may your Spirit guide us in times of conflict and trouble as we strive to make peace wherever we are in the world today. Amen.