I was really struck by the juxtaposition of two signs on the site of the Church of the Beatitudes:
“Blessed are the Peacemakers” is one of the beatitudes. Most of the people who visit the site are Christian pilgrims. Isn’t it jarring – even to gun-loving American Christians – that visitors to the site need to be told not to bring weapons that are antithetical to peacemaking to the site?I heard a sermon recently which emphasized the difference between “peacekeepers” (a euphemism for using violence or the threat thereof to protect the status quo and maintain stability for the advantage of those who benefit from the present system) and “peacemakers” (which often involves addressing the very injustices that lead to the division between haves and have nots, and then the former using gun-weilding security of various sorts to protect their interests).
Many Christians need to hear afresh the challenging teaching of Jesus. And through its irony, I think the signs at the Church of the Beatitudes help convey this point.