Nurturing peacemaking

‘Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God’ (The Bible. Matthew 5:9) 

‘Peace is not simply the absence of conflict but the existence of justice for all people’ (Martin Luther-King) 

HOM: Applying past knowledge to new situations 

This week we mark the International Day of Peace which falls on the 21st September. By doing so, we will begin to lay the foundations for the Wychwood Peace Conference which is taking place in school on the weekend of the 11-12th November 2023.  During that weekend pupils will have the opportunity to hear speakers talk on a range of related subjects, and to explore what it takes to become a peacemaker in our world today.

There is also the clear link of justice with peace. Without justice in society there can be no peace, and it will likely result in conflict. Peacemakers are not those who simply avoid conflict but those who actively engage in the pursuit of justice. In the words of Martin Luther King, ‘Peace is not simply the absence of conflict but the existence of justice for all people’. 

In Greek the word for peace is eirene, and in Hebrew it is shalom. Shalom means not only the absence of trouble but ‘everything which makes for a man’s highest good’. So, in the Bible peace means not only freedom from all conflict but enjoyment of all that is good. In the sermon on the mount Jesus is says …’Blessed are the peacemakers…’  It is the peacemakers who are blessed and not merely peace lovers. This is not a blessing on those who like the quiet life or who evade the issues to avoid conflict, but a beatitude that requires active facing of things, and the making of peace, even when the way to peace is through struggle. Jesus saw this as God like work, establishing good relationships between people, and it also involves dealing with our inner conflicts which can be the root to many external conflicts.

In order to be peacemakers we need to be mindful of our inner motives as well as our outer actions. We will be asking how we can be the peacemakers that our families, school, communities and that our world needs.

Christine Crossley