Matt 5:9 (NIV)
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God."
She was only ten when she wrote a letter to the newly appointed Soviet President Yuri Andropov in December 1982, asking in no uncertain terms if he was going to lead a nuclear war against the United States of America. News on the television in those in days was scary (It still hasn't changed!), and there was lots of talk of a possible nuclear war between these two super powers. With this in mind, from Manchester, Maine, courageously undertook the task of directly contacting the president of the U.S.S.R. And President Andropov replied to her letter, inviting Samantha and her parents to visit his country the next summer.
Soon after this, the Soviet Union opened talks with the U.S. This led the end of the 20th century Cold War. Many believe that this all stemmed from the letter of that ten-year old child.
Samantha continued to promote world peace until her untimely death at the age of 13, when she and her father were killed in a plane crash near Auburn, Maine.
What are we doing to promote peace around us? To be a peacemaker, we have to have love, true love for all mankind. Any prejudice, hatred, bias and unforgiveness have to be set aside in order to make peace possible. Peacemakers are there to protect, trust, persevere and hope. Without hope there would be no peace. But then without love, peace wouldn't be possible either!
"Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." (1 Cor 13:6-7 NIV)
Interestingly that among the signs of times in Matthew 24, "love growing cold" and "wars and rumours of wars" seem to go hand in hand.
"You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come." (Matt 24:6 NIV)
"Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold…" (Matt 24:12 NIV)
Maybe we can learn something from this ten-year-old who decided peace was more important than our own interests. We can start this kind of peace in our own neighborhood. We can start with our own families.
Remember Joe? Yeah, he is anti-social and his jokes are disgusting. It is such an utter shame that he abandoned his family!
But maybe, just maybe if we take the time and effort to forgive him and shower him with love, just maybe, he would come around. You might even be surprised by his many hidden qualities! Maybe he took a wrong turn somewhere in life, but he too, is a child of God. Our accusations won't help him to find the way. Only peace and love will do that.
And what about Lucy, Henrietta and Philip? They too are yearning for acceptance. Are we willing to foster peace in these relationships? Are we courageous enough to love as deeply as Jesus did? Or are we letting events around us turn our love cold?
Remember Samantha Reed Smith. We can learn a lot from children! As Matthew penned in his Gospel "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matt 18:3 NIV)
Dear Lord, help us be the one to forgive today. Show us who we can reach out to and share Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.