“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 anymore.” Isaiah 2:4
In this verse about peace, the word peace does not appear, but the actions described embody peace. Laying down weapons in order to transform them into farming tools beautifully describes the change from conflict to teamwork: swords we swing at each other, plowshares we use side-by-side and share the fruits.
What mindset leads to this kind of action? A huge change—repentance. In order to wield swords, a society must put all of its resources into crafting the swords in the first place, from gathering the materials, to perfecting the craft, to distribution, to training to wield it properly. The choice of peace inspired by God described in Isaiah 2:4 requires turning away from all of that effort and investment, and turning towards something new, different, and uncertain. The fruit of plowshares takes a season to ripen. Sometimes we have to take it on faith that our work of peace will produce fruit. Sometimes the faithfulness of working together in uncertainty yields more fruit than we ever could have possibly imagined. The harvest of peace requires repentance and courage. It deconstructs conflict and creates unity.
As we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth, I encourage you to consider what God is asking us to lay down and refashion into instruments of peace.
Go in peace and serve God,