Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:9)
When our firstborn son, Christopher, was about six months old, I wrote a song about his toes. “Christopher knows Christopher’s toes,” was the opening line, and it was inspired by watching him sit in his little infant seat and grab his feet with such delight, as if he had just discovered them: “stuck in the air at the end of his chair/ten little toes just waiting to play.”
“It’s hard to believe that these little feet will walk into the next generation,” goes one of the verses. “May they be feet that bring the gospel of peace to every situation.”
It has turned out to be one of the most prophetic things I have ever written. Not only did Christopher grow up to be a peacemaker by nature, he is now paid by the City of Los Angeles to keep the peace, because he is so good at it.
I’d never known a peacemaker until I met Christopher. Even as a child, he performed this function in our family. It starts with a calm attitude. Christopher is not easily riled. And when everyone else is flying off the handle, his mere presence has a calming effect. Somehow he is able to transfer this calm over to you, and you suddenly realize that whatever it is you were fighting over just isn’t that important. Everyone takes a deep breath, and remembers the important things — why you love each other, and what are the things that really count.
I’m telling you this because I’m trying to figure out how he does it. I’m trying to find something in what he does that I can pass on to you, because I believe the world needs peacemakers right now, perhaps more than ever.
There is such a strong spirit of contention going on in the world right now. I’m sure it’s always been this way to a degree (with wars and rumors of wars), but lately it seems someone turned up the burner on the melting pot. Certainly there are global conflicts — there always will be — but even in our own country there is bitter rivalry and no love lost between political parties and the conservative and liberal elements in society that have become so polarized. We have an election coming up and everyone knows it’s going to get ugly.
Into this environment we come as followers of Christ representing the Gospel of Welcome. There’s nothing welcoming about being hit upside the head. We need to take a couple of lessons from Christopher: calm down and remember what’s important. We are here to lead people to Christ, not win an election. We are not taking sides. There are no sides to take except to come alongside everyone. We are ambassadors of reconciliation announcing that God isn’t mad anymore, so there is no need for any of us to be.
There are enough of us here at the Catch to make a difference. Take it from Christopher: may your feet carry the gospel of peace to every situation. Calm everyone down. Welcome everyone. Whatever it takes, be a peacemaker today. Be a child of God. Be blessed. Believe me, the world really needs you.
PEACEMAKERS, MARK YOUR CALENDARS!
Rob Stutzman, Political PR expert, will join me next Tuesday, September 16, 2014, to discuss the upcoming elections through the lens of the Gospel of Welcome.