“Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.” -Matthew 5:9
I am pretty outward and vocal that I am a person of faith. To be specific, I am a follower of Jesus and the Ancient Scriptures. I have journeyed long and far with the questions and seekings of my heart and soul and these are the conclusions I have come to. The ways of Jesus are what make sense to me, are what have captured my heart and imagination and are in harmony with my created intention. It is in him that I have found peace, the kind of peace that satisfies. I don’t need to prove him, I don’t need to defend him, I just know that I come alive when my heart and mind is aligned with him.
I live in a nation that is deeply divided, but it is not the divisions of proper patriotism or partisan politics that grieve me, it’s the replacement of our ancient faith with a civil religion of nationalistic fervor of which there can be only one Caesar. We can not serve both God and man, so one must take the throne. We get to choose and the fruit of our lives will indicate who or what is on the throne. What comes out of our mouth is the state of our heart.
What I read on my social media timelines are full of vitrol and hate for the ‘other’ and much of it in the name of a brand of American Christianity that doesn’t resemble the scandal of the Cross. The ardent participation in the power structures of the Empire of our day do not reflect the ways of Jesus; the Son of man, the friend of sinners, the suffering servant nor the Prince of Peace. He didn’t seek to acquire power, but by his own transformation to be like his Father, he acted powerfully. His power was quite literally not of this world and therefore could differentiate from the conflicts of the Empire of his day and serve and love all his neighbors.
Where are the peacemakers? Where are the ones who do not belong to this world and therefore have the capacity and burden to love all of those in this world of which we are called to serve? We are defined not by power positions, but by love and service to all our neighbors. Peacemaking is not an option, it is our inherited identity under the Cross.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
“Seeking a path more purposeful than accumulating wealth, holding power, winning at competition, or securing a career, I had started to understand that it is indeed possible to live a life other than one’s own. Fearful that I was doing just that – but uncertain about the deeper, truer life I sensed hidden inside of me, uncertain whether it was real or trustworthy or within reach – I would snap awake in the middle of the night and stare long hours at the ceiling.” – Parker Palmer
Is the life you are living the highest version of you?
I truly enjoy pub culture. I like to be in the places where the crossroads of life and my neighbors are intersecting. It’s been almost 20 years since I was a vocational pastor but it is in these simple and human spaces in my community where I can perhaps be my best self as a sort of pastoral voice. This past Saturday evening I found myself in an hour or longer conversation with a 31 yr. old young Dad of 2 who was finishing up a 13 hr. work day and in our conversation began lamenting that he thinks he’s doing it wrong. He is making a lot of $ for 60 hrs. of work a week but he’s missing his kids lives altogether. Big house and new cars but cancelled vacations because work owned his time. He was asking himself deep questions if the rat race he was running was worth it in the end. He gave me permission to speak into his life and we talked about the freedom of living more simply, that meaning is created it isn’t bought and the reality that we are going to die, the only thing left is to decide how we want to live. No one can choose that for us. If we let work choose it, we won’t live the life we were created to embody. We became friends and hope to continue the conversation, he said “I don’t meet people like you.” I think that was a compliment, I pray the deep questions haunted his dreams. 😉
What are the questions that keep you up at night? What is bubbling below the surface of your true identity trying to break through the ice of your surface self you let everyone else see? Are you living a life to make others happy, enslaved to the unspoken oughts and shoulds of their judgments and perceptions? In your resting times, do you experience freedom and peace, or does your heart and mind race in anxiety? Are you asking yourself the big questions about life? We only get one.
Let your life speak, seek the highest version of your true self. That is where freedom, truth, power and peace come from. I’m always glad to have that conversation.