In 1960, presidential candidate Sen. John F. Kennedy challenged students at the University of Michigan to volunteer 2 yrs. of their life to helping others. In 1961, then President Kennedy, signed an Executive Order to establish the Peace Corps. It’s goal was and remains to be an instrument of world peace and friendship to other countries.
As we approach the next beatitude from Matt. 5 let’s first be reminded that peace, shalom, with God is the initial step in becoming a ‘peacemaker’. As much as I admire and respect the work of the Peace Corps., there is no peace without Jesus first.
Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. (Colossians 1:22 NLT)
I think Jesus’ point was that when you experience spiritual wholeness from God your desire becomes bringing wholeness to others. This desire we have to be a peacemaker creates passion for reconciliation between people in our lives. We, in essence, are enlisted in God’s Peace Corps.
What is reconciliation? You may remember from English Class that the prefix ‘re’ means to do it again. Do what again? Look at the root word conciliate. Even though we don’t hear that word often it’s crucial to understanding re-conciliation. It’s meaning is to overcome hostility by making friendly overtures. Get it? If you are in God’s Peace Corps. then you are His instrument of reconciliation. You are His co-worker and agent. Sound important? It is. It’s so important that He calls peacemakers His children: sons of God.
The holidays are prime-time for reconciliation. Families that are torn apart through unresolved hurt or disagreements are in dire need of a peacemaker. What can you do? Pray and ask God for an opening. Express to Him that you want to bring harmony back into your family but don’t know how. He’ll give you the wisdom and understanding to see both perspectives and speak to them. As a believer in Jesus Christ you have a ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18) in your family, in your neighborhood, in your church, or even at work. Is your desire to reestablish relationships, restore friendships, or reunite people? Pray, express your desire, and listen to that quiet voice of His as He directs you. Your example of seeing different perspectives will make a difference. It may not happen this year but God is a God of action and He will start the ball rolling toward true peace between people through your prayer. Initiate a conversation, send a card, extend an invitation; be an initiator of peace.
St. Francis of Assisi wrote this:
“Preach the gospel, if necessary, use words.”
And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:18 NLT)
Welcome to God’s Peace Corps! May you plant many seeds this year.