Blessed are the cheesemakers.
When I was in college, my friends and I found the British comedy troupe Monty Python to be pretty close to the height of comedy. Their movie, The Life of Brian, is one that I cannot really recommend. It skirts the edge of blasphemy and at times jumps right off the edge into the abyss. However, one bit from the film that I still find amusing has several characters listening in to Jesus at the Sermon on the Mount. God is the inventor of humor and I feel like He probably finds this shtick funny as well. Someone in the crowd misunderstands Jesus when he says “blessed are the peacemakers.” They think he said “blessed are the cheesemakers.” This immediately launches the characters into an explanation and debate over what Jesus might mean: ‘Well, perhaps he means blessed are the producers of all dairy products…” The bit is, I believe, meant to say more about the characters in the movie than about the teaching of Jesus. They are so caught up in their own little squabbles and priorities that they are not even paying attention to what Jesus is saying. It is no wonder they get it wrong.
I sometimes wonder if we are the same way. What seems to be a simple teaching from the Sermon on the Mount is so ordinary and normal to us that we can forget it or even get it completely wrong as life roars on around us. Some days we can get so caught up in our squabbles over work or status or political priorities that we forget the deeply profound truth that sits at the heart of what seems to be a very simplistic teaching: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”
This week, at the end of a year that has been difficult in many ways, during this second week of Advent, we ask you to focus on this tiny word and giant concept: PEACE. What does it mean to be people of peace in times like these? How do we as the people of God bring the rule of the Prince of Peace to bear on our lives, our loves and our relationships? What does it mean to be a peacemaker during a divisive political season? How would a peacemaker, one that looks like what Jesus intended, react to our current pandemic and political climate? In short, what does it look like to act as children of God in the midst of these trouble-ridden days?
As we celebrate the Christmas season, may we reorient our lives toward peace. As we look forward to remembering this most important birth together, may we ponder how to share good tidings of great joy which shall be for all people. In so doing, may we bring peace. May our actions and our attitudes love first, build bridges and connections second, and put divisiveness aside.
Together, let’s slow down and pray. I will pray for you. Please pray for me. Let’s pray that you and I are seen as children of God. May we be seen as sons and daughters of God who bring peace, not just as cheesy people who spout platitudes like clichéd cheesemakers.