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  • While We're Trying to Figure Out Whether Peace is Possible, Just What is a Peacemaker?
While We're Trying to Figure Out Whether Peace is Possible, Just What is a Peacemaker?
Contributor
Written by
Mary Ellen Latela
October 2015
Contributor
Written by
Mary Ellen Latela
October 2015

October 2, 2015 

Mary E. Latela

WHAT IS A PEACEMAKER?

I have wanted to talk about this question for a long time.  I automatically did a google search to see what the virtual world was collecting about the peacemaker.  I discovered several pages of links to peacemakers, which are guns, so named because of the illusion that they can bring people peace. Not a good resource.

James 3:13 – 4:3, 7-8a 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom…. 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure,  then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits,  without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. 3:18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.


We might think that we have to be special, even famous people to call ourselves peacemakers. We may turn, for example, to those great people  who have won the Nobel Peace Prize, but these are people, too.

In the fall of 2004 I was in NYC to give a workshop  for the US Institute of Peace.
The subject was the vocabulary of peace in the classroom. It was very exciting to be there, and I met some fabulous people. At the official beginning of the conference, the president of Pace College announced that the Winner for the Novel Peace Prize had just been named, and the choice was quite auspicious,
as the Nobel people were shifting from peace among nations  and big, important people, to making peace with the earth.


The Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2004 was Wangari Maathal of Kenya Wangari Muta Maathai was born 1 April 1940, in Kenya. The Prize was awarded: “for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace” Field: humanitarian work


You see, when Wangari returned to Kenya after her studies, she was devastated to see her homeland devoid of green life. She started a movement with women…  Plant a tree. Now the green vegetation provides good, is good for the soil, and provides food.

Professor Maathai died on 25 September 2011 at the age of 71, and I don’t think anyone would contest that she represents peacemaking. And how is Kenya doing? How is this peace movement working out? Well, the 2011 annual report indicated that almost 4 million trees were planted, bringing the total number planted to over 51 million! GBM also participated in the United Nation’s annual climate change conference, COP17, in Durban, South Africa, and, launched the ‘Enough is Enough’ campaign against land-grabbing in Kenya. More details on these and other achievements in the report.

I am more and more convinced that a peacemaker is a friend – to other people and to this wonderful world God created for us to tend.

When I have an opportunity to talk with children about life, I like to tell the story of my family and the peach tree. We had enjoyed some juicy, large free-stone peaches one summer. They were from the market. When we asked Mom if we could grow our own peaches from the pit of one of these luscious samples of fruit, she asked, “Why not?”

 

So Mom showed us – my brother, sister, and me – how to plant the peach pit. We did it ourselves so as to be given full credit, covering the deeply set pit with rich soil in our backyard. We watered the spot, carefully marked, all that year.

I always ask children how long they imagine we had to wait before we ate our peach. Not after the first year, when we saw only a little green bud coming through the soil. Not the next, when the green stem grew a few inches. Three years? Four?

After four or five years, we had a few little blossoms on the tree, and Mom said when the plant was strong enough, we would have a gift.  The plant was taller, slender, with a thick stem and little branches shooting off.

During the sixth summer, we excitedly watched the blossoms open, then fall off, leaving baby peaches, which grew into medium-size peaches, and finally, a few fairly large, fuzzy-skinned orange-yellow fruits! Finally, we were able to pick the peaches and share them after supper. They were delicious, sweet, and like the pit we had planted, also free-stone, which meant that the pit easily fell out of the middle.

For quite a few years after that, the tree grew and produced fruit.  I learned that planting the seed is only the first step in growing a tree, or growing a person. So these days when I still “plant seeds” I do not expect an immediate return. I just move on, and expect that the fruit will come in its own good time.

Making peace is very much like planting our own trees, taking care of the growing plant, and being very patient while it took its time toward fruition. So I plant seeds of peace, then I may call myself a peacemaker.

And if enough of us plant seeds, then it seems just a matter of time before Peace Thrives.

Let's be friends

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Comments
  • Lene Fogelberg Writing

    I love your thoughts about being a peacemaker! Thank you for sharing! <3