Jesus' followers are called to peace. When Jesus called them, they found their peace. Jesus is their peace. Now they are not only to have peace, but they are to make peace.
To do this they renounce violence and strife. Those things never help the cause of Christ. Christ's kingdom is a realm of peace, and those in Christ's community greet each other with a greeting of peace. Jesus' disciples maintain peace by choosing to suffer instead of causing others to suffer. They preserve community when others destroy it. They renounce self-assertion and are silent in the face of hatred and injustice. That is how they overcome evil with good. That is how they are makers of divine peace in a world of hatred and war.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God." Matthew 5:9
Questions to Ponder
What impact would it have on our culture of violence if individual Christians and churches were to "renounce violence and strife" as a mark of true discipleship?
How might being "silent in the face of hatred and injustice" be compatible with non-violent resistance to evil?
Why can violence never help the cause of Christ's kingdom?
Which of you desires life,
and covets many days to enjoy good?
Keep your tongue from evil,
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Depart from evil, and do good;
seek peace, and pursue it. Psalm 34:12-14
Have you ever thought deeply on the fact that your call to follow Jesus is a call to peace? Reflect in your journal on how that realization makes you feel. Any actions suggest themselves?
Think of any people with whom you are in conflict or tension. Reflect on what might happen if the next time you met them you greeted them with a "greeting of peace."
What experiences of peacemaking have you had? Reflect on what it felt like to be a peacemaker.
Pray for all politicians and government leaders that they might "renounce violence and strife" and embrace peacemaking as a priority at all levels of government.
Prayer for Today
God of peace, you give me peace, now teach me to be a peacemaker.
40-Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Copyright © 2007 Augsburg Books, imprint of Augsburg Fortress.