In the documentary Look & See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry, author Berry spoke of how divorce describes the state of our world. We’re divorced from one another, from our history, from the land. Things that should be whole are split apart. When asked what we should do about this sad fact, Berry said, “We can’t put everything back together. We just take two things and put them together.” We take two things broken apart and make them one again.
“Blessed are the peacemakers,” Jesus tells us (Matthew 5:9). To make peace is to bring shalom. And shalom refers to the world being set right. One theologian describes shalom as “universal flourishing, wholeness and delight. . . . [It’s] the way things ought to be.” Shalom is taking what’s broken and making it whole. As Jesus guides, may we strive to make things right. He calls us to be peacemakers, to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” (vv. 13–14)
There are many ways to be peacemakers in the world, but with each may we engage brokenness rather than surrendering to it. In God’s power, let’s choose to not allow a friendship to die or let a struggling neighborhood languish or yield to apathy and isolation. Let’s look for the broken places, trusting God to give us the wisdom and skill to participate in making them whole again.
What are two things you’re aware of that need to be brought back together? How might God be calling you to participate in making them whole?
The context of Christ’s words here is critical. He has just given “the Beatitudes”—the series of declarations in which He unveils the values of His kingdom. His radical credo turns the world’s values upside down. Jesus pronounces as “blessed” all who are “poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3), “those who mourn” (v. 4), “the meek” (v. 5), “those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” (v. 6), “the merciful” (v. 7), “the pure in heart” (v. 8), “the peacemakers” (v. 9), and those persecuted for the sake of righteousness (v. 10).
Living by His values puts us in sharp contrast to the world. When we’re peacemakers, we permit a ray of light to dispel the darkness that threatens our world. When we suffer, those who see our response will notice the difference Jesus makes.