By: Chad Hyatt
Isaiah 2:1-5
Reflection—v. 4 ‘they shall beat their swords into plowshares’

We sing a song at Mercy about going down by the riverside, laying down burdens and swords and shields, and all the while walking with the Prince of Peace. I imagine the nations flocking toward the house of God in Isaiah’s vision singing along with us: ‘We ain’t gonna study war no more.’ That sounds like a dream King would dream. But the vision is more than singing, more than shouting and praying and even prophesying. The dream dawns a new day when the salty sweat on our brows and the hard metal of our anvils turn weapons of war into tools of peace. Advent calls us once again to conversion, and Isaiah gives us a practical vision of healthy penance. We live amid a culture that so idolizes violence as to propose that the best way to stop violence is to arm ourselves with even more weapons. We live amid weaponized violence in our schools and streets and homes. We suffer the dehumanizing violence of racism and genderism, the other-ing and scapegoating of entire groups of people. We are inundated by the violence of our angry words and gross intolerance toward those who disagree with us. We endure the violence embedded in systems that crush the poor. And we must confront the violence of our own hearts as we lift ourselves up by putting others down. It’s time to take the hammer to our violent ways, refashioning how we hold one another in relationship so that the sacredness of all life is honored.

Prayer: God of plowshares, help us to transform patterns of violence into ways of life.

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