Formations Lesson for November 14- Longing for Peace
November 2 2010 by Christopher Moore, minister of education, children and senior adults, Durham Memorial Baptist Church, Durham

Focal Passage: Isaiah 2:1-4  

During the American Civil War, the Union general William T. Sherman implemented a devastatingly effective tactic to cripple the supply lines of the Confederate armies.

Sherman ordered his men to rip up railway tracks in the South, heat the rails until they were malleable, and then twist the heated bars around trees. Nicknamed “Sherman’s neckties,” what resulted was a host of gnarled rails that were often irreparable.

Sherman’s “necktie” strategy was one of many he hoped would serve as the decisive blow to break the Confederate will to fight, thus ending the war.

However, in our passage for today, Isaiah describes a day when the tools of war will be “reshaped” for a much different purpose. Isaiah envisions the time when weapons will not be misshapen to defeat an enemy, but will instead be reshaped to defeat war itself.

Swords will be used for plowing; spears will be used for pruning. The tools once used to end life will one day be used to create it.

So what might Isaiah say to Christians who long for a more peaceful world? First of all, Isaiah’s vision reminds us to be responsible with the tools God has given us. Take our speech, for example.

Our words are tools that can be used to build up or tear down. When we use our words in a destructive manner — say, when we judge another person — we are using our God-given tools in ways for which they were never intended. In essence, we are bending our farming tools into weapons! 

Look again at the picture Isaiah paints of the coming kingdom. It is a world in which God judges (v. 4). Christians are prohibited from judging one another, not because God wants all the vengeance for himself (Deut. 32:35; Rom. 12:19), but because humans are unqualified to arbitrate for themselves. If left to our own, we will use our tools for war, not peace. The kingdom Christ proclaims is one in which humans, recognizing our skewed sense of justice, defer to God’s adjudication.

It is a kingdom in which humans have not simply sheathed their swords, but instead have reshaped them into instruments that can never again be used to destroy God’s creation.

Increasingly distraught with the violence of our world, we may pine for the day when God will bring this kingdom to fruition. Yet perhaps God is waiting on us, too.

After all, it is humans who reshape their weapons, not God.

How serious are we about asking God’s peace to reign in us and among us?

What if this kingdom was as near as our willingness to participate in it?   
11/2/2010 3:46:00 AM by Christopher Moore, minister of education, children and senior adults, Durham Memorial Baptist Church, Durham | with 0 comments

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