I’ve been reflecting quite a lot recently on Jesus words on the sermon on the mount ‘blessed are the peacemakers they will be called the children of God’ and realising the wisdom but then thinking about the reality and the enormous challenge that brings to us. Can we actually forgive even on a small level forgiving our neighbour for playing music too loud and after trying to reason with them nothing changes. What chance is there for much bigger situations such as war etc. seeing all the footage of Afghanistan lately you really have to battle against the feelings we have to get back at such atrocities. Where do we start? Perhaps we start with ourselves; our attitudes, acknowledge our feelings and try to meditate on what we know to be wise words from Jesus and see what we can achieve……….and hopefully we can start to ‘build bridges’ no matter how small each step is a triumph.

We know Jesus spoke in parables, that in what he says to us there are layers of meanings. We are also reminded that the Holy Spirit will help us unlock mysteries (not secrets for the Most High, unlike us, does not have secrets) that is truths, insights, part of a growing relationship with the One beyond all names whom we seek and find in the Triune God.

So why do we try to boil down the beauty of mystery into bare doctrinal phrases, or worse still become partisan? Perhaps thinking we have ‘the’ right answer when in fact we haven’t got the answer at all, for our knowledge is imperfect as Paul reminds us in I Corinthians 13! This is not to say we haven’t got a grasp on truths that belong to our understanding of Christian faith, we have, but it’s our capacity for making walls around these insights given, demanding one answer where many are in fact required, that causes us all so much trouble!

Fr Robin is an Eastern Rite Catholic Chaplain for Melkites in the UK. He is also an Ecumenical Canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. You can follow him on Twitter: @RobinGibbons2

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Amma Syncletica said, “In the beginning there are a great many battles and a good deal of suffering for those who are advancing towards God and, afterwards, ineffable joy. It is like those who wish to light a fire. At first they are choked with smoke and cry, until they obtain what they seek. As it is written, “Our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:24); so we also must kindle the divine fire in ourselves through tears and hard work.”