"Peace On Earth"

Terry Walton


“Peace on Earth”

I Was Thinking…

What is the difference between a “peace-maker” and a “peace-keeper”?  The answer to such a question could hinge greatly on context but generally speaking I think there is an important difference. 

Since I have arrived in this position of “Chief Missional Strategist” (the new job description for District Superintendents) I have been reading a book entitled “The Rule of Benedict: A Spirituality for the 21st Century” by Joan Chittister.  I recommend it to you for your 2017 devotional reading.  In her January 9th comments she writes,

 “The role of the spiritual leader is to lead people to spiritual adulthood where they themselves make the kind of choices that give life depth and quality…In our own culture, becoming someone important, climbing the corporate and ecclesiastical ladder has so often meant pleasing the person at the top rather than doing what the conscience demands or the situation requires…That kind of authority so often leads to the satisfaction of the system more than to the development of the person and the coming reign of God.   That kind of authority breeds scandals and cover-ups in the face of a tradition that holds up for public emulation Joan of Arc and Thomas More, whose obedience was always to a much higher law than that of countries or institutions”. (Pp.34-35)

When I read those words I thought of Martin Luther King, Jr.  I thought of his call to non-violent protest of an oppressive government toward Negroes.  I thought about how unbelievably difficult it is to take a stance against oppression of others when the majority seems to say, either by voice or by silence that such oppression is acceptable behavior.  I thought about the difference between a “peace-maker” and a “peace-keeper”. 

A “peace-keeper” can be a person or system that is committed to ‘keeping the peace’ at all costs.  It often lurks about in a ‘conspiracy of niceness’ that fights change of any sort at any time.

A “peace-maker”, on the other hand, is intent on making ‘adult’ decisions that are often difficult and costly but, in the end, bring ‘life and depth’ into a situation.  A “peace-maker” understands that it takes time, energy and a loyalty to something far larger than human understanding.  A “peace-maker” listens to and follows the Prince of Peace, Jesus, modeling thoughts and behavior after him.

Are we “peace-keepers” or “peace-makers”?  One brings status quo.  The other brings wonderful change…Gospel change for ALL people.  “Let There Be Peace on Earth and let it begin with me”.

Always Thinking,


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