Ambassadors Of Peace

Sunday, December 5, 2021
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Isaiah 2:4 – He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and 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 anymore. (ESV)

Recently, I listened to an episode of the BBC series, A History of the World. It described an amazing sculpture, The Throne of Weapons.

In 1992, an Anglican bishop, Rt. Rev. Dinis Sengulane, one of Africa's greatest peacemakers, mediated an end to 15 years of civil war in Mozambique. He initiated a project, Transforming Arms into Tools, through which combatants were encouraged to anonymously exchange their weapons for useful everyday objects to help them reintegrate back into a society no longer at war with itself. These weapons were traded for such things as sewing machines, bicycles, hoes, and the like. Through this programme, it is estimated that 600,000 arms were removed from further use, and some were used to create sculptures.

Artists used decommissioned weapons to make works of art that spoke to both sides. One such is The Throne of Weapons by Cristovao Canhavato, known as an artist by the name Kester. This chair, or throne, in the shape of a wooden armchair, is made of rifle parts welded together, as a symbol for reconciliation and peace. In one of the rifle butts, the artist found a smiling human face in the marks left by a strap. He included that rifle in his work even though his relatives had been injured by such a weapon. The sculpture is now in the possession of the British Museum.

In today's media-frenzied world of instant communication, I sense the opposite: a promotion of hate, lies, and disinformation, based on words and rebellion — in a civil war not using arms weapons — a civil war focused on the polarization of families, communities, ethnic groups, and nations right where we are. This is the fight at home for my assertion to be the arbiter of truth, the winner against something not my view. As of today, the physical outworking may look different, but the spiritual forces behind these oppositions are the same as those which incite revolt. Only Jesus has the wisdom, power, and authority to break the power of evil thoughts, words, and deeds, in order to encourage peace, to bring reconciliation and healing, and to promote forgiveness.

On this second Sunday of Advent, as we light the candle of peace, may we remember and lift up Jesus, the light that came into the world to overcome this darkness. Jesus' light is a gift to us to work in our families to bring peace, to bind up the broken-hearted, and to bring hope where we live this Christmastide.

Prayer: Lord, in Your mercy, forgive us. Raise in us an awareness of grace and bring kingdom peace to our hearts and minds, so that in turn, we can pass it on to those around us through this season of goodwill at Christmas. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Rod Marshall <roderickhenrymarshall@gmail.com>
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for the good reminder, Rod.


    Grateful for your capsuling so much into a few words here, Rod. Good to hear.


    So true, Rod, a promotion of disinformation and unrest. Thanks for pointing out the true answer.


    Amen Rod. Fascinating art history lesson. Thanks for sharing.
    Blessings


    Very interesting and effective way of solving problems, while God is the peacemaker. Thank you.


    Rod, this is a powerful message, filled with facts I am just now learning.
    Thanks for this blessing.


    Hello, Rod. Bravo for digging out this wonderful account of a turning of weapons into useful items — a true fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.
    Please keep it up. I have read your contributions to the Presbycan devotions for years, and I treasure every one. Thank you. May the Lord bless you as a brother in his flock.


    Hello Rod,
    Very good advice and words in your devotional today. We need make it a priority that we spread the love of Jesus to those around us. What a peaceful world we would have if everyone would follow the way of our Lord. Blessings for your in-depth and most meaningful writings.


    Rod – thank you for another great and insightful devotional. I agree that today’s society, through social media in particular, is prone to spreading and sowing hate. Why? Thankfully, we can look to our God for strength, inspiration, and victory. However, even for us Christians, some days it is difficult to do so. God Bless you and Merry Christmas.


    Rod,
    Thanks for sharing the story in today’s scripture. One would think I would have known about something that occurred like this in my adult lifetime, but I have never heard the story of the “Throne of Weapons.” And, of course, weapons today as you mentioned are different and certainly potentially as harmful.
    We are praying for peace in our world.


    Thank you again for your history lesson and good lessons for us that peace may prevail. I like the mathematical formula that the Lord gave to me in relation to Philippians 4—verses 6 and 7 add up to 13 which reminds us to do all things through Christ who strengthens us, and then you add the prayer verse 6 to 13 to get to verse 19. (because prayer is important—in relation to Christ who taught us the disciple’s prayer, and we are taught to pray in His name.) Then, recently the words of verse 20 spoke to me, “To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” We are reminded to give God the glory when He meets our needs, not just rejoice that our needs have been met.


    Hello Rod,
    Very interesting piece of peace in our history. Thank you for sharing and showing us that peace is possible. I thought I would look at the artwork in the British museum.
    It is so true that with God’s help if we shine the light of Jesus, it does make a difference in the eyes and hearts of the people around us. With the help of the Holy Spirit we can respond with kindness which can influence how someone else sees the situation. We cannot do this on our own, but with God’s help we can make a difference towards peace.
    I know that I don’t always respond in the right manner, so I appreciate a good reminder to encourage me to improve. Thank you.

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