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Blessed are the Peacemakers… by Mark Nill

Blessed are the Peacemakers
by Mark Nill, Secondary Campus Principal

“Despite their diversity, they can live in harmony, wholeness, and peace.”

SCS Mission Statement: Educating for Wholeness by Engaging God’s World in the Servant Way of Jesus

In the movie, Jungle Book, there is a place called Peace Rock where all species of animals congregate during times of drought. All animals whether they are big or small, fierce or tame can come together to this place because they all committed to putting their differences aside due to sharing a common need — the water that gives life. As such, Peace Rock represents a place of cooperation, restoration, and wholeness. A similar image of wholeness is painted in Isaiah 11:6-9 where Isaiah gives us a picture of heaven or the kingdom of God.

Isaiah 11:6-9
The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

These opposites, as we know them in our everyday experience, do not work. In fact, they create a lot of problems, tension, and harm. Yet, in the world that God envisions for us, He says they can live side by side. Despite their diversity, they can live in harmony, wholeness, and peace. What’s even crazier is that God invites us to participate in bringing this restoration and wholeness to this earth. Remember the line in the Lord’s Prayer that says “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” We get to be a part of that.

Without a doubt, there are events in the world, in our city, in our churches, in our school, in our families, and even within ourselves that do not resemble this beautiful picture of flourishing. In fact, divisions between people, both within and outside the Christian faith, seem heightened and volatile.

How might we contribute towards wholeness in our school, in Surrey, and beyond? It seems to me that God is explicit about how we are to be with each other. The paradox of the wolf and the lamb offers us an illustration of the way to ‘be’. What is that way to ‘be’? Isaiah says “that they will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain.” And so, when we do differ with our neighbour, what posture are we encouraged to embrace? Paul’s letter to the Colossians encourages followers of Jesus to disagree in the following way:

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. -Colossians 3:12-15

As we enter places of conflict, hostility, and disagreement, may we come asking questions with listening ears. May we also be mindful to come with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and with the willingness to forgive. May ‘our’ way not be the only way. May we be open to find a “third” way. May we honour the relationship and be assured that, in our differences, God can lead us to a place of Peace. And may we, at Surrey Christian School, become peace-makers.