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Forging Belief in a Better World


When I stand at the anvil, when I have the tongs and the hammer and the hot metal, I decide what to make. I can make art. I can make tools for building, tools for farming, tools for cooking. I can make tools of conflict. I can make a spear like this one that another Smith here made and that I kept looking at trying to figure out how I do this project. I can make a pruning hook. Every day we face a choice about what we will make, not just with our hands, but with our lives, with our words, with our actions.

We make the world around us and we inspire others to make the world around them. If we decide, we will make the tools of peace. We'll inspire others to do the same. For me, my faith helps me make the tools of peace, of community. My faith teaches me to forgive when others have wronged me, and it teaches me to look at my own life and see where I have wronged others, and to go out and seek to be forgiven. To set right what I have made wrong. It teaches me that everyone is made in God's image. Everyone is special, everyone matters. And no one is to be feared just for who they are. We make the tools we interact with in our lives everywhere we go. We make them in our workplaces. We make them in our homes. We make them in our schools. We make them in our meetings. We make them even sometimes at church and even sometimes at blacksmith shops.

I want to read the words of Isaiah again. This is what Isaiah, Amoz's son, saw concerning Judah in Jerusalem. In the days to come, the mountain of the Lord's House will be the highest of mountains. It will be lifted above the hills. People will stream to it. Many nations will go and say, Come, let us go up to the Lord's Mountain, to the house of Jacob. So that he may teach us to walk in his ways, and we may walk in God's path. Instruction will come from Zion, the Lord's Word from Jerusalem. God will judge between the nations and settle disputes of mighty nations. Then they will beat their swords into iron plows and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation. Neither shall they learn war anymore. I invite you? I invite you to be a peacemaker to make the tools that build people up. It is not always easy. There will be many people who tell you that it can't happen.

Maybe the greatest thing my faith gives me is the hope to believe a different day is coming when we will not be able to get enough garden tools. And a day when every tool of conflict, every gun, every bomb, every weapon, will seem as much a relic of the past as the spear. I do believe it. I do believe peace is possible. I believe it's possible in my life. I believe it's possible in my community. I believe it's possible in the world. And I invite you. I implore you. Think about the tools you make. Let's not just make tools of conflict because they're all around us. Let's make the tools we really need. Be kind. Seek to understand. Have compassion and compromise. Forgive and allow yourself to be forgiven. Peace can happen. And I hope you'll join me in building it. Amen.