Isaiah 2:1-5 (NRSV)
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Chapter 2The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. Verse 2In days to come the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. Verse 3Many peoples shall come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths." For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Verse 4He 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. Verse 5O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!
When leaders speak of the desire for peace, they often use the words, “they shall beat their swords into plowshares.” More often than not, these are aspirational words. Yet there are times when these hopes become reality:
In the 1940s at least two dozen medical researchers transformed mustard gas, used in World War I, into a new form of cancer treatment. Several of these drugs are still used today.
Activist artist Pedro Reyes of Mexico collected 1,527 guns for the project Palas por Pistolas (Shovels for Guns). Reyes melted these guns down into shovel heads which were used to plant 1,527 trees. Reyes said he wanted to show “how an agent of death can become an agent of life.”
Even when there seems to be so much violence and war in the world, stories like these show things intended for death can indeed be transformed into things promoting life and peace. May there be more stories like these!
Gracious Lord, help us and our leaders walk in your light so we may bring a measure of your peace into our lives and into our world. Amen.