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This quote from Jesus from Matthew 5:9 is probably one of the most famous and well-known Jesus quotes from the Bible. Though, however common the phrase blessed are the peacemakers is, you’d be hard-pressed to figure that Christians took this seriously, given how many Christians are in the military, in many a nation (often opposing nations), and how much counsel and comfort is given to those manning, and occasionally womaning, military enterprises. Of course, many Christians would argue that war-making is a form of peacemaking. I think that this was a popular argument in 1984. Or, well, it’s a real job creator for theologians to figure a way out of loving our enemies, and allowing us to kill those that we hate. This is one of those areas where I find that Christianity gets seriously in the way of following Jesus. Many people do not realize that in the early Christian church, pacifism was the prevailing norm. Refusing military conscription was a common form of martyrdom in the early Christian church. Of course, later, when Christianity cozied up to the state, particularly in the fourth century when Constantine made Christianity the state religion, Christianity mysteriously came up with new ways to justify warring on its enemies. This co-option into the ways of the world is as common as it is unjustified. Just reflect on Jesus’ words for a moment. Really, what blessings do we see reaped by the peacemakers? In worldly wisdom, these so-called blessings are secondhand fodder for the weak, the lowly pacifist. I don’t think that it was a mistake that Jesus’ words recorded here as part of the beatitudes, added for emphasis that peacemakers would be called the children of God! he was trying to make a point! This is a title reserved for the blessed peacemakers in Jesus’ list of who is blessed. Most people stop reading the beatitudes soon after this because they are insane enough to suggest that those who are persecuted for righteousness sake are also blessed. I also like to Luke version which mentions as one of the woes as all people speaking well of you, for this is what our ancestors did in speaking of the false prophets. It seems that a common thread of the many rationalizations I believe stray from Jesus true message concerns avoiding a cost for our actions. Some days I just wish that we had a courageous Messiah that spoke boldly and prophetically to the powers that be in this world, and they wouldn’t back down, even to the point of death by the cruelest means. I can tell you one thing: they didn’t need to torture Jesus to get the truth from him. However, the fact that Jesus was willing to put some skin in the game, all of his skin, speaks truth deeply. Like they say, talk is cheap. What would you be willing to sacrifice for peace? And what blessings would you reap from this?