A wee cross stands on my desk. It is not much, really. It is not elaborate, or artistic. In fact, it is very simple. But I like it. It is special.
It is made out of copper; in fact, it is made out of a bullet shell. The bullet was fired somewhere in Sierra Leon. Did it injure a soldier? Did it mutilate a man or a woman? Did it take the life of a child? Who fired it? I haven’t got any answers to these questions.
What I know is that someone picked up the shell and made it into a cross. Its message to me is this: Peace does not just happen! It is not like you draw the curtain one morning and hey presto, there it is, PEACE, right on the front lawn. No, you need to work for peace.
It is not enough to have a desire for peace, one needs to be moved to action, using one’s heart, mind, and skills, to do something, and everything for peace, to serve others, to sweat, even to make a sacrifice for peace.
The person that created the cross out of the bullet shell was motivated to action. Stopping doing what he or she was doing, which can mean stop making war, or bullets, and start making something else, making peace.
I believe Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sins of the world to make peace between man and man, between man and God.
The prophet Isaiah had a vibrant vision of the Kingdom of God (Isaiah 2:1-5), a kingdom of righteousness and universal peace., when and where God’s love, compassion, His justice and righteousness will guide and move the human hearts and minds of every nation. It is a powerful read in the NLT (New Living Translation) version:
This is what Isaiah, son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:
In the last days
the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established
as the highest of the mountains;
it will be exalted above the hills,
and all nations will stream to it.
Many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the temple of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He will judge between the nations
and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.
Come, descendants of Jacob,
let us walk in the light of the Lord. (Isaiah 2:1-5; NLT)
Peace will be not just a notion, a hope, or a dream. It will be a reality, because people embraced God’s forgiveness, renewing grace, and will be moved to act as God’s Spirit leads them. He will transform their lives and the life of the world. Weapons will be destroyed, they will have no more purpose, and will be made into tools. The skill of war will be superfluous and pointless. They will walk in the light of God!
On Remembrance Day our remembering will be meaningful only if we are not just remembering the pain, turmoil, and destruction of war, but look forward purposefully to the Kingdom of God, the universal rule of the Prince of Peace, where there will be no more wars, no more tears.
You know what? Jesus called us to be peace makers here and now. It is not enough to long for peace. We need to get down to it to stop making war and begin creating ‘tools’ that nurture and support life!