Here’s how you make mozzarella at home. Heat a gallon of whole milk, and add citric acid. Once it reaches ninety degrees, take the milk off the heat and add rennet (a specific bunch of enzymes) and stir. Cover and set the mixture aside for five minutes, until it’s gelatinous. Break up the curds (the solidish stuff) and then return to the heat, but don’t break them up too much! Separate the curds from the whey (the liquidy stuff, Ms. Muffet) and then lower the curds into just below boiling water for a few minutes. Knead the curds until evenly heated. Add a teaspoon of salt, kneading it all the way through, and once it’s stretchy, let it form up in an ice bath for about five minutes. Then boom! Homemade mozzarella.
Not as easy as it sounds, no? I’ve made cheese twice, both times under sharp scrutiny and skilled supervision, and without Google, I couldn’t have told you step one in the process. Making cheese is hard, as it turns out. But so, too, is making peace.
Blessed are the peacemakers, Jesus tells us in the Beatitudes, for they will be called children of God. I have to note that Jesus does not say “peace lovers” or “peace followers” or even “peace needers” but peace makers, people who see conflict, despair, worry and chaos, roll up their sleeves, and get to work, whatever the cost, challenge or claim on their own well-being and security. And then, if we say that peace is the absence of fear (which it is), then the ones who do not give into fear and boldly, bravely and brashly seek to reconcile and redeem people (enemies, friends, strangers or others) are exhibiting the most potent, present and powerful relationship with God imaginable. It makes cheese making seem easy, surely.
But this Sunday, we’ll keep climbing up the Beatitude ladder, and seeing what the call of peacemaking is in our lives individually, corporately, and communally. I look very forward to seeing you then.
P.S. You can’t take the cheesemaker thing literally—it applies to all people who work in dairy…