Blessed are the Peacemakers

As I mentioned last week, I will be posting a blog on the issue of peace each Friday.  Here is a rough outline of where I intend to go:

Jesus on Peace

   What he taught and said

   How he lived out his teaching

How Christians have
interpreted Jesus’ words in history

    Early church and response to persecution

    Constantine

    Augustine and Just War

    Crusades and Holy Wars

    In US

    Revolution

    Pacifism—Quakers, Anabaptists, Mennonites,
etc.

    Manifest Destiny and Violence

    World Wars

    MLK, Civil Rights and Non-Violent
Resistance

    War on Terror 

Other Views on Peace

   Gandhi

   MLK, Jr.

   Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America

 
For me, peace issues begin with an examination of Jesus’ teachings and life.  It’s not just that Jesus taught peace, but that he lived out his message.  It is in his Sermon on the Mount that we first get a taste of how Jesus feels about it, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God." (Matthew 5:9)  I read that passage hundreds of times before truly wrestling with it or, rather, letting it wrestle with me.  What did Jesus mean by it and what does the rest of what he had to say in the sermon have to do with being a person of peace?

I don’t think we can fully understand the life of Jesus on this earth apart from knowing what he believed about peace and how it was to be lived out in a world full of violence, under the tightening fist of oppression from the Romans as well as from within his own religion.  As we look at his life in the context of his society and religion, we see what a powerful statement he made with his words and actions.

Next Friday, I’ll dig into Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount.  Feel free to let me know if you see anything missing in my outline you would like to see me address.  Until then, . . .

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About John Henson

I am Pastor of Church for the Highlands in the Highland neighborhood of Shreveport, LA. I am also Chaplain of Volunteers of America of North Louisiana. I am husband to Jinny and father to a middle-schooler named Jack. Most of my time is taken up with starting a church, but I love running, a good cigar, and reading what mystics have lived and written. Member of Citizen Potawatomi Nation.
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