Monday, May 19, 2008

Identity in peace - blessed are the peacemakers

I have heard some say that peacemaking is done through violence. That a strong military that quells evil is making peace.

Let us then view Christ's words, "blessed are the peacemakers," in this light. Is Christ really saying, "blessed are the warriors, for they bring peace through coercion?"

At the time of Christ's earthly ministry (excusing the misnomer), Rome had what was called Pax Romana, or "the peace of Rome." This peace was brought on by fighting rebels, destroying dissent, and expanding the borders. Within the Roman empire, the soldiers protected traffic lanes and made it safe to travel the world without fear of armed robbery.

This same peace is what every fascist dictator claims, and in many cases achieves. In fact, the Emperors of Rome were very much like dictators we see today; expansionist, heavy-handed, and self-serving despots.

So is this the peace Christ favored, or is it the shalom that reconciles all things, and places all things in their proper order as ordained by God, creator of the universe? Is it the "ministry of reconciliation" that all Christians are called to, making friends of enemies?

Or maybe when Paul said, "be at peace with all men" he really meant "kill everyone that would lord over you" as we call our nations to do in order to preserve peace.

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