“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” Matthew 5:9 KJV
There are only two men for whom US Federal holidays have been named, Christopher Columbus and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. One man lost his way and stumbled upon a continent which would later be called North America and the other helped us to find a way to live together in a country that for centuries had been divided by hatred and ignorance. Today we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who taught us how to overcome violence and injustice with peace. Dr. King taught us that “peace is not merely the absence of some negative force; it is the presence of a positive force. True peace is not merely the absence of tension, but it is the presence of justice and brotherhood.”
As we celebrate the memory of this great peacemaker, let us consider our role as emissaries of peace in a world that is rife with conflict. Perhaps we can start by asking ourselves, what can I do to bring peace to my little piece of the world? We each have the power to affect the relationships around us. How intentional are we about resolving conflicts in our homes, on our jobs and in our other relationships? Wherever there are people there is potential for conflict but it is also true that wherever there are peace loving people there is potential for peace. Jesus called peacemakers “the children of God”. Whose children are we if we are creators of conflict?
Living in peace is a choice. We have to be intentional about working toward peace. That means we have to be honest about exposing the causes of conflict and working together to resolve them. This kind of work is not easy but the rewards are worth the effort. Workplace conflicts are often the result of mistrust, misunderstanding, poor communication, competition and silos. Our mission demands that we live in a healing environment. So make a commitment today to be a peacemaker.
St Francis prayed:
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.
Be a blessing.
Mark A. Stoddart, M.Div.
Administrative Director for Spiritual Wellness
Shawnee Mission Medical Center