Blessed are the Peacemakers — A Devotional by Chaplain Brent Mencarelli
Our campus theme, “Follow Me,” is a wonderful opportunity to remember that our faith isn’t about a simple ascent to facts. Our faith is first and foremost a relationship, both individually and collectively. Jesus is the center of our faith. No matter the question or topic, the answer always pivots around following Him.
As one author puts it, “Christianity is not just a set of doctrines added onto or even fundamentally altering Judaism. It is the revelation of God himself in a person. To be godly has always meant to act in accord with who God is and how he acts. Now, this is made clearest and most pointed with the revelation of God in the flesh, Jesus the Christ.”
This school year, I challenge you to be the hands and feet of Jesus, to follow after him no matter our job or title. I intend to hit the “start navigation” on our Jesus GPS. To make him our top value and priority.
We have been through a lot together. The past couple of years have been amongst the most difficult. I look forward to the day when I don’t feel the need to say or acknowledge that.
Brothers and sisters, Satan wants to rip us apart. There is a laundry list of topics that have the potential to rip us apart at the seams. Yesterday, I made my student chapel team list out the many things that threaten to divide us this school year. The top of the list is Satan himself.
In the midst of a culture that is only getting more divisive, and as debates continue around us and even amongst us, I share with you the very words of Jesus in Matthew chapter 5.
“Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.”
As your chaplain I am calling this institution, this college, this community, this group of believers who are organized for a specific mission, I am calling you to be peacemakers.
Notice the Holy Scriptures say peacemaker.
It’s more than a disposition. It requires more than a declaration. And it always starts with you making a costly decision. It is the intentional act of bringing together those who are estranged. It is not a shrug your shoulders type of suggestion. The text is clear, those who do this are the very children of God.
Satan wants you to feel like there is no possible way. He wants to take hostage our hope.
So when you feel like there is no possible way to experience peace,
when you feel that person is too far gone,
when you feel too much distress over what has been said or done,
when it feels as if all hope has been lost to salvage peace,
when you don’t have the strength, or stamina to handle the criticism,
when it seems that all you hear are complaints,
when you can’t hear another person grumble,
when you can’t take another student questioning you or your decision,
when you can’t take another political debate,
when this world seems like it has become too much,
when you’re to the point of throwing your arms up because peace seems impossible,
be encouraged that there is one who has gone before you.
He brought peace where there was only violence.
He reached out to those who were too far gone and brought them near — that’s our story.
He made one new unified community out of two that were completely divided.
He experienced mocking, grumbling, and complaints, as he was brutally beaten and murdered.
So that he could make peace first for us with God, and also for us together.
God knows we could never do this on our own. Stop pretending like you have the power to make peace in your own strength. We can be peacemakers only because Jesus himself MADE peace. He denied himself. He carried his own cross. He made peace. And by doing so he created the most beautiful group of people who are known not by the sword or violence, but by peace.
When you are frustrated with a decision made by someone in authority over you — be a peacemaker.
When you’re tempted to grumble about decisions made by our senior leadership — be a peacemaker.
When you’re disrespected by someone indirectly or directly this school year — be a peacemaker.
When you speak about someone else who is made in God’s good and holy image — be a peacemaker.
When you face a disagreement with someone — be a peacemaker.
When you get asked a question you’ve already answered a million times — be a peacemaker.
When you feel underappreciated — be a peacemaker.
When you consider what it means to follow Jesus — be a peacemaker.
At Grace, we don’t just grow academically. We also grow spiritually — spurring one another on in the walk to becoming more and more like Jesus.
Are you encouraged by Chaplain Brent Mencarelli’s charge to the Grace campus? There is more encouragement to be had. Check out the Grace College chapel services on Youtube. Or live stream the next one here.