Jesus is quoted as saying, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.’ (Matthew 5:9) It can sound like a platitude, an inspirational meme to keep scrolling past. But the word translated ‘blessed’ might better be translated ‘happy,’ happy for what from the outside—if you aren’t a peacemaker—seems like no good reason. How can you be happy, in a conflict zone? And yet, children can be, at least some of the time.
Don’t get me wrong. Children witness terrible things, endure things beyond words, and such things can leave them damaged, to grow in malformed ways. Nonetheless, children possess a certain resilience, can take adults by the hand, and lead them where they need to go, stepping into the life they must live, when everything in the adults wants to give up living. Children have an ability to see good, however small, however fragile, an innate ability to know happiness in the ordinary. Children of God, yet to grow old.
If a community ripped apart by violence is going to forge itself into something else, something practical and constructive—if they are to beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning-hooks—then it is their children who are going to inspire them. Those who will enjoy the fruit of the ploughshare, the pruning-hook, will be the very ones for whom we pick up our hammers. Might even be the ones to fetch our hammer and say, ‘Are you just going to sit there? Here, take this. Start hammering out peace.’
The young are not simply the future, waiting their time, but have a share in our present. Our imperfect, ordinary, wonderful present. If we can learn from them, we might just be peacemakers. In time, we might become known as children ourselves, children of God, where once we only saw divided children of men.
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