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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, February 1, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading | Matthew 5:1–12

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (NRSV)

If you’re anything like me, you’ve succumbed to the increasingly trendy Enneagram, the nine-category system of personality types. I have always been skeptical of any system that attempts to put my entire personality in a box and tie it up neatly with a bow, but I didn’t let that stop me from getting in on the fad. One Google search and a quick questionnaire later and I was given a new label: Peacemaker. 

Upon researching this new box I’d put myself in, I was assigned a list of attributes that I prided myself on—easy-going, objective, humble, accepting. Yet as I read on, I found myself getting defensive as I was called avoidant, complacent, disengaged, apathetic. As much as those traits troubled me, I can’t deny that I’ll do just about anything to avoid the slightest conflict or uncomfortable conversation, even if it means staying silent on things that matter. 

When Jesus proclaimed “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God,” I’d guess that it wasn’t a nod to the Enneagram, nor permission to avoid tough conversations just because conflict makes us uncomfortable. In a world plagued by injustice, God’s peace is not synonymous with ambivalence; in fact, it requires us to stand up, to speak out, to rustle some feathers, to aid our siblings in Christ in dismantling oppressive systems. 

Sometimes the peacemaker is a quiet, unassuming presence. Other times she’s shouting at the top of her lungs. Until that day when all God’s children are liberated, I hope I’ll have the courage to be the latter.

God of righteousness, too often I choose to remain silent in the face of injustice. Help me resist complacency. Grant me the courage to speak out, as a true peacemaker, against the oppression of your people. Amen. 

Written by Allie Green, Director, Urban Youth Mission

Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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