Lebanon church

This Easter season, the media headlines are especially distressing:

—18 million people facing severe food insecurity in Sudan with little humanitarian aid on the way, mostly absent from our awareness.

—More than 100,000 Armenians uprooted from their history, culture, and homes.

—Hundreds of thousands of Russians and Ukrainians dead, dying, and injured in a war of aggression with no end seemingly in sight.

—Gaza, Israel, and the whole region torn apart again by intergenerational violence, captivity, suffering, death, and retribution.

—The upward creep of global average temperatures beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Add to these headlines the persistent discriminations and prejudices and racisms that live here, the long road of dismantling and undoing histories of marginalization, assimilation, and injustice, along with growing militarization powered by the myth that more violence will bring peace and security.

In the season of Lent, we can be convicted by our complicity. Through this time of introspection and penitence, we can also be quickened by a desire to create a clean heart, to live for love rather than hate, for hope rather than fear.

Let us not lose this clarity of attitude and action as we turn toward the light of Easter morning. Indeed, the message of Easter catalyzes—rather than resolves or subdues—our efforts towards peace.

This year, as Easter approaches, we can turn to Jesus’ teaching of the Beatitudes as a ladder to peacemaking to aim us to love, hope, rebirth, and resurrection.

Consider the meditation below.

A reading with the Beatitudes (Matthew 5 NRSV)

Disheartened by the barrage of images
depicting war,
captivity, and uprooted people,
horrified by ever more lethal weapons systems,
stunned by crumbling homes,
alarmed by hate and prejudice,
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

Struck with grief,
deadened by distance,
confused and bewildered,
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted. 

Loving our neighbours, the land,
and our world,
going about our daily business,
generous and open-handed,
taking care of ourselves, those we love,
and the ecosystems,
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.


Showing kindness,
agitating for justice, dignity
and human rights for all,
taking climate and environmental action,
calling out injustice,
standing against violence and standing with victims,
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst
for righteousness,
for they will be filled. 

Turning the other cheek,
going the extra mile,
crossing lines of difference,
listening deeply to understand,
giving up what is dear to us,
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will receive mercy. 

Seeking clarity,
open hearted,
carrying one anothers hopes and dreams,
transformed by love,
walking with the Creator,
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God. 

Rediscovering the unity we lost,
learning to believe,
restitution and restoration,
building a culture of peace, truth, and reconciliation,
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God. 

Never finished,
never self-satisfied,
always self-emptying,
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

The Beatitudes as a ladder to peacemaking

Inspired by the writings of Jim Forest, lay theologian and founder of the Catholic Peace Fellowship and Orthodox Peace Fellowship, the ladder analogy describes the Beatitudes as rungs on a ladder. Rather than a random list or a simple sequence, the ladder analogy invites us to see each one as culminating in the next, what makes the next rung on the ladder possible.

Peacemaking is the next-to-last rung on the ladder (Matthew 5:9).

How does the analogy of the ladder to peacemaking help you to see new meaning in the Beatitudes and the journey to peace and peacemaking? 

Jim Forest writes that the ladder of the Beatitudes is also the story of Jesus’ life and witness in the gospels.

How does the ladder analogy of the Beatitudes help you to see anew the whole story told by the gospel writers Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John? 

Prayer drawn from Psalm 51

Create in me [us] a clean heart, O God,
    and put a new and right spirit within me [us].
Do not cast me [us] away from your presence,
    and do not take your holy spirit from me [us].
Restore to me [us] the joy of your salvation,
    and sustain in me [us] a willing spirit.

*Link of the original publication

About the author :

Pastor Peter Noteboom is the general secretary of the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC). He has been with the CCC since 1999 beginning as Associate Secretary, Justice and Peace. Active in his home church, the Christian Reformed Church in North America, he was ordained as a Commissioned Pastor in November 2019. He also serves with the World Council of Churches as a Commissioner for the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs.


The impressions expressed in the blog posts are the contributions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or policies of the World Council of Churches.