July 18, 2021

Faith—Making Peace

Matthew 5:1-9

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.”

—  Matthew 5:9

Julia Jackson can rightly be called a child of God. Her son, a young African American, had been shot by police and lay paralyzed in a Kenosha, Wisconsin, hospital. I saw this deeply hurt mother approach a large bank of microphones, pause to collect herself, and then begin to address a city and nation that had exploded into destructive rioting and looting. What would she say?

She drew a deep breath and began to speak, “As I was riding through here, the city, I noticed a lot of damage. It doesn’t reflect my son or my family. If Jacob knew what was going on as far as that goes—the violence and the destruction—he would be very unpleased. So I’m really asking and encouraging everyone in Wisconsin and abroad to take a moment and examine your heart.”

I was stunned into silence. From the depths of her heart this hurting mother told us she was praying for the city. “We really just need prayers,” she said. And then, with grace and dignity, she continued, “To you police officers and your families, I am praying for you. To you brown and black sisters and brothers, I am praying for you.”

“We need healing,” she said. Indeed we do. And God used her, this peacemaker, to move us toward healing. “Blessed are the peacemakers,” Jesus said. They are children of God. Let us thank God for Julia Jackson, a faithful, peacemaking child of God. I want to be her ­brother—and a peacemaker too.

Lord, help us to be peacemakers in this world today. Amen.

About the author — Harvey Kiekover

Harvey Kiekover grew up on a Michigan farm and studied to go into pastoral ministry. He served as a teacher in Nigeria and as a pastor and chaplain in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He and his wife became the parents of three sons, and he enjoys spending time with his six grandchildren.

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