Being a peacemaker may not have made most people’s New Year’s resolutions list, but it’s not to late to add it. Jesus did, after all, declare peacemakers to be blessed, according to Matt. 5:9. The Greek word used by the gospel writer could be translated as “happy,” and it should be self-evident that a rise in peacemaking could bring a happier new year to this troubled world.
Several interfaith advocates are collaborating to promote peace by posting selections from the book Interfaith Heroes, by Daniel Buttrey. Each day during January, a new post will appear at www.readthespirit.com. Each post highlights the actions of a historical or contemporary person who has worked to promote peace and understanding among people of different faiths. It’s well worth the small effort required to bookmark the site and read each day’s selection, sign up for e-mail notifications, or even buy the book.
No one should need convincing that our world is a contentious place, and the contention is often fueled by religious differences that lead fundamentalists of various stripes to try and conquer, kill, or marginalize people of other faiths, rather than seeking to understand them and live in cooperative harmony. Global unrest and violence that has at least some roots in religion continues to march unabated.
Most years, I resolve that I will do more to build bridges to people of other faiths. Most years, I fail to do as much as I had hoped. Here’s a prayer that many of us will strive to be peacemakers this year, even if it takes heroic efforts to do it.