Posted by David Gungor on 1 February 2017

PEACEMAKING

Scripture: MAT.5:9

“The pain of life I know it well; it knows me well. The road to peace I know is hell, I know it well. May the seeds of peace be scattered, birthing trees whose shade give us rest.”

Peacemaking is one of the most desperately needed practices of the Christian faith today. How do we become peacemakers? Are we willing to actually step into darkness? Do we see the humanity and dignity of those in conflict? 

I think peacemaking starts with the ability to see and listen, tied with a vision of reconciliation. The darkness of humanity is a response to immeasurable pain and suffering. I have gone to Israel and Palestine three times on peacemaking pilgrimages with an organization called Telos, learning about the conflict that Israelis and Palestinians live in, and learning how to listen and engage in the stories of heartbreak and tragedy from both sides. I have learned on these pilgrimages to be Pro/Pro/Pro; Pro Israel, Pro Palestine, and Pro peace. One of the most important experiences I had was meeting members of the parent circle, a group of parents who have lost children in the conflict. To hear parent after parent sharing the story of their loss, their child; and then to witness the compassion they share at the stories of their “enemy’s” children whose lives have been lost. The pain and trauma somehow draws them together with hearts of forgiveness and peace. The heart of the peacemaker longs for reconciliation and knows the only path ahead is one of pain and forgiveness.

Pope Francis once encouraged a group of ministers I was with to learn and practice the ministry of the ear. To learn how to listen to those you disagree with, even when it is excruciating. Do we actually know how to listen? My encouragement to you is to take a posture of humility to learn, love, and listen.

Peacemakers are called children of God, because they see the humanity and dignity of all as children of God, and call us back into the vision of humanity where peace is possible. 

Today, think of someone that you are in conflict with. Can you learn to see their side of things? Perhaps with compassion, you can start a dialogue and walk towards the path of reconciliation. May you become an instrument of peace. It is the music of humanity that the children of God sing.

 

 

 

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