One day a few months ago, I was taking my daily walk around the neighborhood, and I came across this rusty metal blade, lying by the side of the road amid the grass and bindweed. I picked it up, and thought “This would be great for digging weeds out of the garden!” As soon as I thought that, what came to mind was the verse that appears twice in the Hebrew Scriptures; “They shall beat their swords into plow-shares, and their spears into pruning hooks.”
When we read those words of desire for a peaceful future, we tend to think it’s a nice idea, but not very realistic. We’d like to see war and violence cease, but we don’t have the power to make it happen.
But this passage can speak to us on a different level, where we do have the power to change things. Each of us carries our own swords and spears; anger, resentment, bitterness, hatred, or the more subtle weapons of prejudice, superiority, or indifference. And these bring about suffering in the world just as truly as any weapons made of metal.
Can you notice these when they crop up in your thoughts or actions? The snide comment to a co-worker, the little dig that you know will annoy a family member? And can you find a way to transform that into something that will foster growth and nourishment?