Given by Rev. Madison Shockley September 19, 2021

In Europe, church is more associated with war. Rev. Shockley traveled to Germany during his vacation and gained some insight into this association. Matthew differs from Luke on the Beatitude, blessed are the peacemakers. Matthew may have wanted to reflect on the devastating impact of war. He wanted the church to play a vital role in peacemaking. The gospel writings were greatly influenced by the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem. This was the symbol of the presence of God for the Hebrew people. The Roman Empire were oppressive conquerors. Matthew lived in a land marked by war. Today, Germany is filled with the markers of war. The lives of everyone in Germany today are influenced by “the war”. War shaped the perspective of the people who lived through it and the generations that came after. Thinking about the Civil War, the South is a land filled with reminders of a war they lost. The German people reflected on their past wars and said never again. Nazi flags are banned. Some Southerners say the confederacy will rise again and fly their flags with pride. This results in a warped sense of reality. People must remain vigilant and fight to keep our democratic republic. We must also be careful to continue the fight for equality. We must fight with better ideas. We must be dedicated to peace. War is the failure of a just peace. War is easy. Peace is hard. Our faith calls us to do the hard thing.