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Swords Into Plowshares

February 15, 2018

“God will judge between the nations, and settle disputes of mighty nations. Then they will beat their swords into iron plows and their spears into pruning tools. Nation will not take up sword against nation; they will no longer learn how to make war.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭2:4‬ ‭CEB‬‬

This gardening tool was fashioned from a semi-automatic weapon that was actually used in a gang shooting. The mother of the victim struck the first blow in the transformation of this weapon of violence into an instrument of peace. We heard author and activist Shane Claiborne speak at a church in Greeley, Colorado in October of 2016. I can not describe the intensity of the feeling that I had as I held this transformed instrument.

Another mass shooting occurred on Ash Wednesday (yesterday) and once again families grieve as seventeen lives were brutally taken by a former student who had been kicked out of the school. Once again, lives lost and in Washington, D.C., “thoughts and prayers” are tweeted by legislators while NO serious attempt is made to do something about the easy access (legal and illegal) to such weapons.

I have many friends who are responsible gun owners and they are equally heartbroken and appalled by the continued massacres (18 so far this year and it is only February 15th for heaven’s sake!) that occur and the lack of response by our elected leaders.

I don’t know what the answer is to this sickness in our country (we lead the way in the world for mass shootings such as this), but thoughts and prayers aren’t enough. It is time for a heartfelt dialogue and intentional work towards smart and reasonable restrictions in this country. It is also time for a return to individual responsibility by all of us. From my lips to God’s ear, may we pray.

The hope of the prophet Isaiah (and the prophet Micah which is below) has been my fervent prayer for decades. This also includes the time when I was a military chaplain and saw first hand the results of “humankind’s inhumanity towards humankind.”

“God will judge between the nations and settle disputes of mighty nations, which are far away. They will beat their swords into iron plows and their spears into pruning tools. Nation will not take up sword against nation; they will no longer learn how to make war.”

‭‭Micah‬ ‭4:3‬ ‭CEB‬‬

God help us as individuals and as a nation to be instruments of peace and do more than tweet “thoughts and prayers” after each horrific tragedy.

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