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Turning guns into garden tools

War. So far, in 6 months, 34,000 people have been killed in Gaza, in a war that is spreading across the Middle East. This is happening while war still rages in Ukraine, while violence engulfs Myanmar, while people are killed and families are torn apart in Sudan and Nigeria. War. Today is ANZAC Day, and this is the day we are called to remember.


In Australia, we look on from afar. But only a couple of generations ago it was OUR families who lost sons; it was OUR communities that were marked forever by war. Just after WWII, we put up a stain-glassed window in our church – or a “story window” as my 4-year-old likes to call them. The story, as depicted in three separate window panels, is of an angel, who walks through hell with a bundle of swords, and takes them to a blacksmith who turns the swords into agricultural equipment. It’s a depiction of a famous quote from the ancient Jewish Book of Isaiah: “and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares”. Instead of cutting through human flesh, the swords would be made into something that could cut through the earth, so that plants could be grown and people could eat. Instead of harvesting death, the swords-come-ploughshares would harvest life.


The modern equivalent would be turning guns into garden tools – and there are people today doing this very thing (see


The implements of war are in all of us: we all have the capacity to wield swords and guns. In a million tiny ways every day, the temptation is towards violence: to use people for our own ends, to help us feel more safe and secure and powerful. And yet, the implements of peace are in all of us as well, when we decide to stop using others for our own ends, and treat others as the sacred souls they are.


What swords and guns exist in your heart? How can they be transformed into the implements of peace? And how can we disarm the guns and bombs of today…and forge peace instead?


Words by Rev Andreana

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