In the summer of 1990, I was traveling with the Chico State choir through eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. The Berlin wall was being taken apart piece by piece and the geopolitical realities and cold war were shifting and changing. One of the original pieces of music, written specifically for the trip, declared the longing of our hearts to see peace on earth. This is the heartbeat of our God, in the song of the angels, found in Luke 2:14.
In Matthew 5:9, Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” Ultimately, it is because of the shed blood of Jesus that peace can come to earth. Colossians 1:20 says, “… through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.”
What does it look like to make peace? Certainly making peace is different than “keeping the peace.” Peace making is a powerful concept that includes intentional efforts to engage violent or otherwise destructive behavior or relationships in such a way to resolve conflict and ultimately pave the way for peaceful relationship and reconciliation. It’s the process of actively forging a settlement between disputing parties.
As Street Pastors on the streets of Chico after dark, this is often what we do as we encounter people who are at odds. We are trained to de-escalate situations that are charged with emotion and even the threat of violence. We pray and ask the Holy Spirit to come and bring the peace of God, but we also use time honored wisdom, learned from local law enforcement, in bringing people to a place of rational thought.
Sheriff Captain Andy Duch is doing a free class on February 16th at 7pm at New Hope Church for Street Pastors, but we’ve also opened it up to the public. De-escalation tools would be helpful in our homes with our families, workplaces and even out in public. Andy is incredibly engaging and you will quickly understand why he is a skilled hostage negotiator. Consider joining us for this time of training. You don’t need to be an aspiring Street Pastor to attend, but if you enjoy this training, you might just consider Street Pastors as a possibility for your future!