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“…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.” (Isaiah 2:4 & Micah 4:3)

A couple of weeks ago I found the large blue Advent candles in one of the church closets and realized that they would need some “pruning” if folks were to be able to see the flickering of the flame over the sides of the candles.  The wicks had burned down inside the candles about an inch during the previous Advent season.  So, I stood outside the back door of the church and commenced with the “pruning,” leaving a pile of blue wax scattered among the fallen leaves.

Okay, so “pruning” candles may seem like a stretch but you catch my drift.  Pruning is essential for some things to work to their fullest capacity.  Take grape vines, for example.  Pruning is necessary for them to produce abundantly.  In an agrarian society like ancient Israel, there were limited resources, especially the precious metals necessary to form pruning hooks.  If too much fighting required too much metal to be beaten into swords and spears, then not enough metal was available for plowshares and pruning hooks.  Eventually the community’s food supply and the very life of the community could be endangered by the drop in food production.  Resources are precious to the life of any community.

Emotional resources are precious to the life of relationships and the community.  It troubles me today to see our willingness to devote so much time, energy, and emotional resources to fighting each other.  We seem so intent on tearing each other down, proving the other wrong, or simply despising the other that we have much of our emotional investments in swords and spears, and very little in plowshares and pruning hooks.  We seem convinced that we can just keep going at this pace of fighting and hating with no consequences.  We cannot survive in healthy relationships and communities with such a distribution of resources.  Our fighting and hate will consume the resources we need to build and maintain loving relationships.  Eventually our swords and spears won’t save us, instead, they will be the means to our emotional and relational destruction.

In Advent we are called to wait and prepare for the coming Christ child who will lead us in the path of peace. He is the one who calls us to redistribute our resources, to beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks.  I pray that God will keep me busy at the anvil beating swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Sand Hill United Methodist Church
Boaz, West Virginia

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~ by revgenelson on December 9, 2009.

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