Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. — Romans 14:19

God promises that those who make peace will be blessed: “Blessed are the peacemakers.” (Matthew 5:9) But to make peace, a person must be at peace. A person who is filled with turmoil will inject that into relationships and situations. A person who is filled with peace will diffuse peace into relationships and situations. To be a peacemaker, you have to be peaceful. — One Year Praying the Promises of God by Cheri Fuller and Jennifer Kennedy Dean

This was my first devotional reading one morning while on vacation at “Epworth by the Sea” on Saint Simon’s Island in Georgia; the only part of America visited by John and Charles Wesley, founders of the United Methodist Church. Epworth has become a place of peaceful tranquility in the midst of a popular and crowded tourist area.

I needed and craved peace and tranquility.

The devotion continues: In Matthew 5, Jesus blesses those who are peacemakers in his Kingdom. In Kingdom peacemaking the disciple takes the initiative. The disciples lays aside pride, risks rejection or ridicule. In other words, peacemaking is not passive. For example, if a person with the authority to do so ordered you to go carry his load one mile, then going with them one mile would avoid conflict. But that is not the same as peace. Don’t be satisfied with keeping things on an even keel. Go further.

To be a peacemaker I must first be at peace. Then, as a leader, I should be willing to take initiative. Peace always sounded like a weak or wimpy word; like caving in or giving up. But peacemaking as used in Scripture is an aggressive action word challenging us to be proactive in addressing the controversial issues of life such as racism, sexism, poverty and violence. As peacemakers we have the opportunity to mediate conflicts and model respect in the midst of hatred and bigotry.

The devotion continues: Peace comes from the inside and spreads to those around you. Make peace. Create it. Bring peace out of chaos and disorder. Be like your Father. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” (Mat. 5:9) People who observe them can’t help but notice the likeness.

But there is a cost to being a peacemaker. The devotion ends: Peace can cost your pride. It can cost your reputation. It cost Jesus his life. But the promise is that peacemakers will live in a state of blessedness. Those who live in peace will live at peace. – One Year Praying the Promises of God

Our world, our community and even our churches are in a state of chaos and division. While resting at “Epworth by the Sea,” I learned to appreciate the value and importance of peace. It is possible for me to be at peace in the midst of a storm. Our calling is to trust in God’s peace as a guide toward becoming peacemakers. The cost will be high but the reward is higher.

As peacemakers, we can lead our churches in a divided and turbulent environment. Churches should be a sanctuary where people who act and think differently feel safe to discuss, explore and even change. A church is where God provides guidance in the midst of complex and often painful issues. A church is where God provides comfort and grace in the midst sin and strife.

Peace and tranquility, comfort and grace, sanctuary, spiritual guidance: God’s church.

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. — Romans 14:19

“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love.” — Francis of Assisi