Sermons

Summary: Who are the peacemakers and what do they do, what is it like to be a peacemaker and why did Jesus say he "did not come to bring peace to the earth" but that peacemakers would be called sons of God?

Blessed are the peacemakers

One of my Great Great Grandfathers was a man by the name of Harry Louis Moffatt, Now Harry Louis was a good keen man, his father John had been Lord Aylmer the Governor of Canada’s batman (or military servant) and his mother was a French orphan by the name of Eliza Bosquet who was Lady Aylmer’s servant.

Harry was an avid reader and gained a thirst for adventure, he was keen on a life of adventure and went to sea at the age of twelve, was abandoned by his ships captain in Peru soon after, somehow got back to sea, travelled around the world, worked his way up to first mate in the merchant navy, before he ventured to New Zealand. Once here he was a gold miner who struck it rich in the Wakamarina Valley in Marlborough before he was claim jumped, he panned gold all over the South Island, meeting up with George Fairweather Moonlight and a few other interesting characters.

He tried a few different ventures all of which had some degree of risk, opening stores to supply miners in Collingwood and on the west coast, encountering the treacherous Grey Mouth Bar on the wrong tide, he sailed as a passenger back to the United Kingdom as a passenger, but got bored and voluntarily worked as crew. On his way back to New Zealand he met his wife and they settled in Motueka where he found employment as the Wharfinger, he also wrote articles for the Nelson Evening Mail under the pseudonym ‘Kiwi’.

The reason I mention my Great Great Grandad is that somehow my Grandad Moffatt had had passed down to him a couple of interesting Items of his Grandads, one was Lord Aylmer’s telescope and the other was a pistol, a single action, rotating barrelled, 45 calibre Colt that went by the name of “a peacemaker.”

I can only guess that Harry kept this close at hand in some of his travels for personal protection and as a storekeeper to protect his livelihood. The peacemaker was a military weapon and I suppose it got it’s name for one of two reasons, it was used to fight for peace, which seems a bit of an oxymoron or that if you presented one anywhere at any time it suddenly got very peaceful due to the fear it instilled, well at least until it was fired.

Now this might just seem like an interesting story but imagine in my mind as a child growing up who had an understanding that a peacemaker was a six shooter, too hear “blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God”; (Matthew 5:9) where might that take the thinking of a child with a bit of an imagination.

I figured that anyone holding a loaded peacemaker could be called anything they wanted. “Son of God, King of Spain, Queen of Sheba you’re the one with the pistol, what would you like to be called?”

You might have also noticed that I have jumped a week ahead of where I was in the beatitudes, that’s because today is the Salvation Army’s fifth annual call to ‘Pray for Peace’. What was it Jesus said “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God.”

So Jesus told us about the peacemakers being called ‘sons of God’, now that we have wandered back to reality and away from my imagination; what or who is a peacemaker?

1) Well for this sermon I have looked at where peace sits in our society and often we think of peace of an absence of war or strife, a state or dimension where no evil exists, a harmonious place where white doves circle in the sky, colourful flowers grow in abundance, bunny rabbits frolic on well kept lawns, the air is filled with the sweet scent of lilac and people rest in the knowledge that they are safe for the mean time.

In the Hebrew language when someone used the word for peace, ‘shalom’ they don’t just hope for an absence of evil or bad stuff for the hearer, the Hebrew peace “always means everything which makes for a man’s highest good.” (William Barclay Matthew Vol. 1) Peace is then not some sort of neutral place it’s something higher and good.

Another thing that comes from Jesus words is that being a peacemaker is actually an active role.

2) This isn’t about blessings for the peace – lovers; but those who work for peace. We can actually be peace loving people and ignore the wrong in society until it destroys our peaceful existence. Edmund Burke the Irish Political philosopher possibly penned these words, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men and women to do nothing.”

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