Rev. Newton Cowan

Rev. Newton Cowan, Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care

Just last week in a gathering of Biscuits & Bible we jumped into Matthew 5, the Sermon on the Mount, specifically the Beatitudes.  When is the last time you read the Beatitudes?

If you have been to Israel, perhaps you visited the Mount of the Beatitudes. Located in Tiberias, it is this beautiful place up on a hill overlooking the sea of Galilee.  (I fully understand it is hard to think about a peaceful place in Israel amongst the devastation from the ruthless invasion by Hamas.)

The location, as tradition says, is where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount.  He begins with the Beatitudes.  (I encourage you to read them in Chapter 5 of Matthew, also in Luke).

Matthew 5:9 reads, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” One way to unpack peacemaker, is to say that is for those who work for the wholeness and well being that God wills for our broken world.  Think about this definition. Those who work towards what God wills for this broken world.

Seems like an impossible task.  But as Professor Karoline Lewis points out, Beatitudes are a call to action, not some passive statement to meditate on.  I think she is on to something.  What might this call to action look like in our own community?  This call to be peacemakers working for what God wills for our broken world.

One way that I have been wrestling with lately is conflict resolution.  In our local community it often feels like conflict is resolved with violence and retaliation than resolving the issues in a different way. In ways that involve open communication, mediation, seeing value in the other person.  I think it can start in our schools, but also in our faith communities and yes even in our personal lives.

How do you resolve conflict?  We as Christians do not have all the answers and I believe that working with other faith communities towards a peaceful community can build unity and move toward God’s vision.

So, I am curious and would love to hear from you — what does it mean to be a peacemaker in our community?  How do we work towards what God envisions for this broken world?

Let me hear from you.