I’m writing this on the day that American President Joe Biden is visiting Ireland on the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Peace Agreement.

It was the beginning of the end of the terrible violence of what came to be known as 'The Troubles' in Northern Ireland - troubles lasting 30 years.

In the New Testament, Good Friday was of course the day when the Roman authorities tried to bring about peace by the cruel violence of crucifying Jesus, whose peaceful mission was about love.

It’s widely accepted that the USA, a power from outside the UK, helped to bring about the peace agreement in Northern Ireland.

Some of us may remember another American, Henry Kissinger, who in the 1970s flew back and forth around the world persuading the leaders of nations to talk to each other and make peace.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Rev Alan Ward - retired Church of Scotland ministerRev Alan Ward - retired Church of Scotland minister (Image: Church of Scotland)

His efforts were nicknamed “Shuttle Diplomacy”, and he was credited with helping to improve the frosty relationship between China and the West. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

It’s interesting how often it takes an outsider’s help to bring about peace. All my ministry I have been concerned with peace-making, and I learned much from a book by Jonathan Powell, Talking To Terrorists.

He has worked for 30 years as a mediator in armed conflicts all around the world, and points out that sooner or later, we will bring about peace only by sitting down and talking with even our most hated enemies.

Jesus has sometimes been called The Mediator, and in the Bible, he is given the name Prince of Peace. In fact, the Bible mentions peace around 350 times, so it’s important.

Right now, we all want peace in Ukraine, so let’s pray for the people, whoever they are, who are working behind the scenes to bring about peace.

Jesus said: “Blessed are the peace-makers. God calls them his children.”