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As we reflected upon gun violence yesterday as part of our reflection upon the Social Principles of the World Community, I was struck by Pastor Alka’s selection of Isaiah’s passage from chapter 2, verse 4, “[God] shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (NRSV)


This passage kept floating around in my head and I was trying to figure out why. There is something so powerful about the message of a future where people can exist with one another in peace. That hope seems naive and powerful all at the same time. One part of my brain acknowledges that it seems like humans will always find ways to hurt one another. And the other part of my brain acknowledges that humans have the capacity for great empathy and care. But there are two parts of the Isaiah passage that stick out to me today that give me great hope.


War is learned. And our church and Christian faith also teach us that peace can be learned too. There is an alternative to hurt, harm, and untimely deaths caused by guns. The writer of this Isaiah passage acknowledges that it is not only the work of turning weapons from one purpose to another, but that acknowledging the deeper issue of addressing the ways in which we learn war. How have we learned that war is inevitable? Our history classes, social studies, news, media, and narratives about war?


This train of thought leads to the next point which is that the writer acknowledges that we must be active and put in hard work to actively resist the movements of war in our communities and countries. The physical action of beating swords and spears is is a powerful image to think of. Hearing stories about what it means to physically transform a gun into a working tool to create and harvest food. That gives me so much hope but also reminds me that there is work to do.


As an aside, I deeply love that the complete opposite of war is that people are being fed. There is something incredibly beautiful about that sentiment. What would it look like if our airplanes the delivered bombs were able to deliver gardening supplies and seeds? This passage got me to thinking about where in my life am I inadvertently supporting war and violence and how can I actively support feeding others.





Paz y Salud, Jessie