The eight Beatitudes at the start of the Sermon on the Mount have provided a template for living and learning for the past two millennia. It is not surprising that they offer a special lens for understanding the depth and power of restorative dialogue.
Through the 2022 Symposium on Worship at Calvin University, Ted Lewis, in partnership with the student-led Calvin Peacemakers group, will be presenting on the theme of “Understanding Restorative Justice Dialogue through the Beatitudes.” The zoom-based event, with discussion time, takes place on January 31, 2022, at 6 pm Eastern Time.
View a chart that links up the Beatitudes with the main dimensions of restorative dialogue work. In this chart, note how half of the Beatitudes (1,2,5,6) apply well to the harming and harmed parties who are supported for eventual joint dialogue. The other half (3,4,7,8) apply well to restorative facilitators who lean into postures of peacemaking that include a deep solidarity with the people most involved in a harm-related situation. Click below…
Blessed are the poor in spirit… the ones who are VULNERABLE due to histories of harming and being harmed, and who thus feel disempowered and unprotected in the condition they find themselves.
Blessed are those who mourn… the ones who feel deep REMORSE for how their actions may have affected others, and also those who feel the deep IMPACT of losing control over their daily lives and thoughts.
Blessed are the meek… the ones who find the QUIET STRENGTH to face hard but healing conversations, and those who rise to the occasion of guiding such conversations without being too directive.
Blessed are those who hunger for justice… the ones who want to assist in RIGHT-MAKING, who foster a form of justice that is not pain-for-pain, but a delivery of new life that restores all involved.
Blessed are the merciful… the ones who can embrace EMPATHY as a primary way to connect with the humanity of the other side, and thereby release the need for negative consequences to unfold.
Blessed are the pure in heart… the ones who can shift from the head zone to the HEART-ZONE, knowing this is where people can truly hear and be heard, and in this pure reception can move forward in life.
Blessed are the peacemakers… the ones who FACILITATE peaceful processes geared towards peaceful ends, who hold space where it is easier for others to face the hard past and lean into a better future.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for making things right… the ones who boldly try ALTERNATIVE practices that give life, despite the fact that they are not welcomed by those who practice systems of death.
By being thus blessed, you and your work resonates with God’s present and coming kingdom. You are already participating in God’s kingdom ways, and you will inherit, as kingdom children, the wonders of the kingdom. Moreover, you will in turn receive what you give; you will be dignified for who you are. You will be comforted, strengthened, filled, shown mercy. At best, you will see God. And if you meet resistance for your bright and salty work, you will not be alone in your experience.
Also, read a new piece on this website that links up the typical stages of facilitated restorative dialogue with Walter Breuggemann’s outline of the Old Testament.