Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who resist retaliation,
for the earth will never be won by force.
We can build walls and missiles to our heart’s content, securing our borders with Mutually Assured Destruction, and ever more stringent restrictions on movement. We can make our pacts and alliances, and stand in solidarity with countries of like-mind. We can love NATO or hate it. But, says Jesus, the earth does not belong to those with guns, or missiles, it belongs to the meek; it belongs to those who resist retaliation, to those who will commit themselves to alternatives to the spiralling violence that generates strike after counter-strike. The future belongs to those who will build bridges and not walls, to those who turn swords into ploughshares and guns into statues. We will need creativity and courage if we are to stand against the prevailing mind-set of retaliation. But it is a fight that is worth the effort, because all other paths lead to death.
God of peace, in a week when the possibility of nuclear strikes between America and North Korea seems frighteningly real, we pray for those who will choose a different path. We pray for those who speak peace when others speak war; we pray for politicians, for negotiators, for dictators. We ask that those who would see the violent path as the solution to conflict will come to realise that the earth will never be won by force. So we pray for the meek, for those who resist retaliation. Help us in our own private lives to live a world of peace into being, may we be those who bring peace to our families, our workplaces, our friendships. Amen