We were at war with God. Now, because of an act of violence, we are at peace with him. It's glorious, but enigmatic. The mystery of the Atonement can tempt us to abstraction or avoidance, but our view of God's peace plan isn't just for theology textbooks. We are, after all, called into God's peacemaking efforts, into reconciling enemies. God "reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation," Paul reminded the Corinthians.
What does that ministry look like? Scripture assures us that Christian peace is unfamiliar and strange: It "passeth all understanding"; it's "not as this world gives"; it comes with tribulation, but not at a time others think peaceful (Jer. 6:14). "Do you think I came to bring peace on earth?" asked the Prince of Peace. "No, I tell you, but division." Christian peace is not obvious, and we may disagree strongly about what it looks like. That doesn't negate our command to be ministers of it (especially at a time when many voices are calling Christians not to the ministry of reconciliation, but to a culture war).
A brief look at one day's headlines shows how diverse Christian peace ministries can be.
Almost every major newspaper on Friday, March 24, placed Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) on the front page. After nearly four months, American, British, Canadian, and Iraqi troops freed three members of the pacifist group from their kidnappers in Iraq. A fourth CPT hostage had been found dead two weeks earlier, making the rescue "bittersweet," CPT said. Some found the CPT statement bittersweet, too, in its placing the blame for insurgent violence on "the illegal occupation of Iraq by multinational forces." A National Post columnist complained, "They do not condemn the violence ...1