"Supporting SKMB Churches and Camps in making disciples."

The Proof is in the Pudding

"Blessed are the peacemakers for theirs is the kingdom of God." Matthew 5:9

Sometimes we have sayings that just don't make sense until you dig a little deeper. One example is, "the proof is in the pudding."  I've always wondered who hides proof in a dessert dish? We've shortened this proverb from its original version, which makes much more sense, "the proof of the pudding is in the eating." We take this to mean that until you taste the pudding, you don't know if it is any good. The meaning goes even deeper – back when this phrase was coined, the pudding would refer not to a dessert but a sort of sausage filled with minced meat and other things.   It was something you would cautiously try in case the pudding was improperly prepared and made you sick or killed you. The proof of the pudding was truly in the eating.

This phrase has resonated with me over the past months as we've watched the war in Ukraine and seen the culture surrounding us respond to us. Historically as Mennonite Brethren, we were, by definition, pacifists, or as some have worded it to me, anti-war.   I don't know many pro-war people, yet our non-violence stance is unique to many world views.    When we come to a crisis such as Ukraine, where we see innocent people being killed for no real reason, I feel the tension of wanting us to try and stop the senseless violence with having a non-violent approach. Does this non-violent approach work? Well, one could say… "the proof is in the pudding."

I've realized that many of the terms I've heard over time are passive – pacifism, anti-war, and non-violence. They are either an absence of action or negation of something else. One of the terms that has resonated with me is the term peacemaking. My understanding is that several decades ago, the Mennonite Brethren church changed their confession of faith to use the phrase peacemaking instead of pacifism. If the proof of the pudding is in the eating, the evidence of our pacifism is in our peacemaking. The confession of faith recognizes we need to do more than hold a position; we need to live out our theological distinctives. Peacemaking is the intentional act of seeking peace. It does not happen on its own.   If we hold to our theological convictions, the proof of their effectiveness will not be the absence of action but the intentional work to be peacemakers.

None of us are capable of solving the Ukraine crisis singlehandedly. I have no delusions one of us can be peacemakers on such a scale. However, we can be peacemakers each in our own way. We can support and aid Ukrainian refugees. We can support and encourage peace talks when possible. We can pray for those who are struggling in this crisis. We can provide tangible support to those Ukrainians now settling into our communities. We can be people who love and care for those overwhelmed by trauma and pain. We can find our own way to be peacemakers.

 To react to a crisis and have a voice in addressing issues and concerns, we need to be known as peacemakers in the world around us. We also need to be peacemakers on a daily basis. The polarization of our culture has become more evident. Are we contributing to polarization, or are we seeking to be the peacemakers in our relationships? In our workplaces? In our communities? People will only hear our voice as peacemakers if they see us living out peacemaking in our life.

Peacemaking is active. It is ongoing. If we genuinely believe we are called to be peacemakers, we need more than words; we need lives dedicated to this principle for the greater purpose of gospel witness. If the proof of the pudding is in the eating, let's make sure we are active in proving our unique and counter-cultural views.

I believe we can do this as I see it in a small and personal way in my family. My daughter is nine years old, and a Ukrainian girl who speaks no English has joined her class. This girl is a trauma victim who has seen things no child should see. Not knowing this girl's experiences, my daughter has intentionally befriended her. They are becoming good friends despite the language barriers. In doing this, God is using my daughter to bring peace into this girl's life in tangible ways. This has not been easy for her, yet she has continued to love someone she can't communicate with intentionally. She has created a safe place and a loving place by loving her neighbour as God calls us to.    If our children can be peacemakers in this world, I hope we can do so as well. 








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