“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” – Matthew 5:9
Recently, my son announced that he had a new nickname. Apparently, our parental terms of endearment for him were not cool enough. His new nickname was derived from one of his favorite toys and I had my doubts. The incident raised an interesting conversation in our house. Do you get to choose your own nickname or are nicknames given to you? Are they based upon something you like or upon something you’ve done?
In the beginning of the sermon on the mount Jesus says that those who seek peace within themselves and within their community will get a new moniker. He says they will be called, “Children of God.”
This is fascinating for at least a couple of reasons. First, he is talking to people who feel oppressed. First century Jews were ruled by a foreign empire that was consistently reminding them that Rome ruled. Keep in mind the tribal mindset that extended to matters of faith. Some would say that it’s hard to claim your God is the almighty when another people with another God hold you underfoot.
And yet Jesus doesn’t equate being a child of YHWH with being the strongest, most influential people. He doesn’t say, “Be the most powerful nation on the planet and then people will know that you are my children.” It is the peacemakers who are called “Children of God.” And that’s the other thing, ancient Israelites did not often refer to themselves as “Children of God.” They are the children of Abraham, the children of Israel, the chosen people, or even the people of God. Perhaps children of God implied a familiarity they wouldn’t dare assume.
And yet, Christ says it’s a title that is a wholly accurate and is undeniably obvious in those who seek peace.
From its inception the church has been known for its pursuit of peace.
This week we will join in that journey as we explore peace in the scriptures and in our lives.
May we too be called peacemakers. May we too be known as children of God.