Last Sunday week we had the iconic words of the Beatitudes. I prayed long and hard over them as I prepared my sermon. There was so much there that resonated with me: firstly the need for us to care deeply for the suffering of others in a way that enables us to mourn with them, to express the kind of deep grief that cannot be hidden; the kind of grief that Jacob felt at the loss of Joseph; that the mothers and families in Israel felt on that fateful day in October when Hamas carried out their barbaric attack on civilians; the kind of grief that we have seen unfolding on our screens daily at the carnage being inflicted on the civilians in Palestine; the kind of grief that is no longer being highlighted on our screens in other parts of our world but is no less painful than what we are being shown by the media. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the peacemakers! This is not simply about those who love peace but about those who work for peace. In all those places where war rages, we do not need nice words, neither do we need to play political games. To be peacemakers, we must commit ourselves to do the work that will create a political solution: we cannot bomb our enemies into oblivion on either side. For there to be peace we must put down our weapons of warfare, beat them into ploughshares – an instrument that will be used to provide food for sustenance. To be peacemakers means committing ourselves to establishing right relationships with one another. We cannot do this while raining down bombs on each other and killing our children. This trauma on both sides will only breed more hate and more vengeance. The war must cease!
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me!