Summary: In Jesus’ teaching,happiness, blessedness and sonship to God are tied to peacemaking.
Matthew 5__1=12 Happy Peacemakers
"Blessed are the Peacemakers"
When I was a boy, I was fascinated with guns, weaponry. My father taught me to respect guns and wildlife from the time I was very young. I believe I may have been six years old when he taught me to fire a rifle. I was younger than that when he began to teach me not to fear animals or people and to cherish all that God had made, even the dusty earth, the rocky creeks and rivers and especially the trees.
Like every young boy, I was fascinated with guns. Dad taught me well on my first BB gun, a Diasy, and then at age 12 a single shot rifle. He didn’t want me to have an automatic and shoot recklessly. He wanted me to learn to concentrate and be careful - to know what I was aiming at and not take chances.
But like every boy, I read about repeating rifles, and the variety of hand guns and explosives. I liked to watch things blow up with the 4th of July fire crackers and to break bottles and drive nails with my 22.
I read about a remarkable hand gun that was advertised as the gun that won the west - the Colt Peacemaker.
Of course that was not true - since the Colt 45 Single Action Rim Fire Gun and Cartridges were not put into service until 1873. The West had been won a long time before and most likely by men carrying single shot rifles, mostly muzzle loading muskets.
Colt, like other manufacturers of weaponry was and remains good at advertising and short on truth. Of course the gun-toting heros of Western movies always have a Colt six-shooter - so the legends live on.
A company named Sharps manufactured a heavy, 50 caliber single shot rifle that was used to harvest buffalo and clear the plains for raising cattle. This was before Winchester and Colt manufactured repeating rifles.
That is more than you probably wanted to know about guns. When I became a man, as St. Paul said, I put aside childish things. When I was in my 20’s I stopped hunting for sport, heeding my father’s injunction - only kill what you will eat and also in reaction to my enlarged consciousness that the earth is God’s creation and we were put here to tend it, not to blow things up for our amusement or personal profit.
Since I came to adulthood in the middle of the bloodiest century in human history, I had difficulty reconciling the Prince of Peace and Righteousness with the warmaking that was evidently honored, cherished and revered by the great powers on this earth.
How do we reconcile the Gentle Jesus with the world we saw in mid-20th century?
Blessed are the Meek - they shall inherit the earth said Jesus. A cynic in mid-20 th century, it may have been me who said, "Yeah, a 3X 6 plot of ground."
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God." Each of the beatitudes applies to all of God’s people.
So Jesus is telling us this morning that He doesn’t just call parents, grandparents, adults, or adult singles to be peacemakers; His will is for all His children to be peacemakers. But you may wonder, what can a little child do?
I well remember the challenge of living as a Christian in a public school, and trying to maintain some sense of my calling when tormented, mistreated, beaten scoffed at. I wasn’t a recluse - I played sports and participated in band and was elected class president. But the distinctions only made some dispise me all the more.
How bring peace? One by one, I reached out and made friends with the enemy. It took a long time, but it did work. By the time I left highschool, I had no enemies, none that wanted to mistreat me any longer.
In Shelbyville, I know very small, preschool children who have been taught how to respect other children and how to share and not fight. Some have learned to say the words love and understand that loving is a way of behaving kindly toward others.
Our race needs to be instructed in this matter. Above the calls for more and more wars, the voice of the Gentle JEsus should be raised through the his body the Church.
In the over 3100 years of recorded world history, the world has only been at peace 8% of the time, a total of 286 years. During that time we know of 8000 treaties that were made and broken?
Peace is elusive and illusory in this life and on this earth.
How come there is so much bloodshed and war on this planet? Why has the history of the church so often been filled with fighting, quarrels, and schisms? Why are families torn apart by frictions and strife? Can we never have peace and security?