Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany” and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.”
Listen Now. We will now be including the daily reading of Epistle and Gospel with The Prayer Team.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Matthew 5:9
Good morning Prayer Team!
There is a difference between a peacemaker and a peace-taker. A peace maker is someone who tries to bring calm into a situation. A peace-taker brings chaos. A peacemaker lowers the blood pressure of people in a room. A peace-taker raises it. The peacemaker promotes an environment where people feel safe to be honest, even feel safe to make a mistake, knowing that peacemakers know how to forgive. Peace-takers promote environments of dishonesty and falsehood, where people are on edge and afraid to be truthful.
A peacemaker does not necessarily passively endure actions that are not peaceful or roll over and appease people. The peacemaker is neither a compromiser nor indifferent. The peacemaker speaks the truth in love, calling out things that are wrong in the eyes of God. The peacemaker creates bridges that unite people. Sometimes it is hard to be a peacemaker because the peace-takers often ridicule the peacemakers.
Peace is a prominent theme in the Divine Liturgy—the Liturgy begins with the words “Blessed is the Kingdom” because this is where peace reigns supreme. The first three petitions are for peace—“In peace let us pray to the Lord”, “for the peace from Above and the salvation of our souls,” “For peace in the whole world. . .” Peace is imparted before all the important parts of the Liturgy—before the Gospel, before the Creed, before Holy Communion. And towards the end of the Liturgy, we are exhorted to “depart in peace.”
Peace is based on—
~The Holy Spirit—Peace be with you. Receive the Holy Spirit. (John 20:21) Those who have acquired the Holy Spirit acquire peace.
~Peace is not a feeling of inner tranquility with the idea that there will be no hard times in life God doesn’t prevent storms from coming to us, but He comes to us in the midst of the storms to bring peace.
~“Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) Having peace involves relinquishing anxieties to God.
~The peace of God comes to those who make peace with God through daily repentance.
~It comes to those who spend time with God each day in silence and prayer.
~Peace comes through learning, in times of disagreement, to work towards resolution rather than prolonged conflict.
As for the “Sons of God”, when scripture calls someone a “son” of something or someone, frequently it means the two have the same character or nature. So, those who are called “sons of God” act like God, they resemble God in their actions. Those who strive to be peacemakers resemble God in their actions, hence the title, “sons of God.”
Lord, thank You for the gift of the peace which passes all understanding that You offer to every person who strives to be like You. Help me today to be a person of peace, to be a peacemaker in every encounter with every person I will meet today. Help me to trust in You and not to be anxious about anything. Help me to speak the truth in love when I have to confront someone. Give me the courage to stand up for what I know is right but to do so in a peaceful and respectful manner. Allow me to radiate Your Light in my life today in all that I say and do. Amen.
Be a peacemaker today!
With Roger Hunt providing today’s Daily Reading: Listen Now.
These readings are under copyright and is used by permission. All rights reserved. These works may not be further reproduced, in print or on other websites or in any other form, without the prior written authorization of the copyright holder: Reading © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA, Apolytikion of Abbot Marcellus © Narthex Press, Kontakion of Abbot Marcellus © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyrighted 1946, 1952, 1971, and 1973 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and used by permission. From the Online Chapel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
Photo Credit: Foundations for Peace
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