Welcome to the Choo Choo Forge Blacksmith Shop. My name is Caleb Pitkin. I'm a hobby blacksmith, and I'm a pastor in the United Methodist Church. And I'm happy to have you here with us today. It used to be that shops like this were all over the place. Every town had at least one. Big cities had dozens. And the reason they were everywhere is because this is where tools were made.
All kinds of tools. Farming tools were made here. Kitchen tools were made here. The tools for woodworkers, even if you think about it, the scissors for seamstresses were made in shops just like this, but other kinds of tools were made in shops like this too. Tools not of making things, but tools of conflict and violence. This is where swords and spears would have been made. Sometimes it's easy to feel like we have lived our whole lives in a world of conflict.
We watch war on TV and on the news. We see violence and crime in our cities and towns. Our politics are mired by division and fighting. We see it in our communities, in our schools. Sometimes we even experience it in our homes. We are far from the first generation to experience this. When I think about it, I think of the prophet Isaiah. He too lived in a time of conflict where things that had once felt stable and secure suddenly felt a little more shaky than they had before, where the strong oppressed the weak, where there was violence and war and rumors of war. But yet, in the midst of fear and conflict, he saw a powerful vision.
Isaiah, chapter two, verse one through four, tells us: This is what Isaiah, Amoz's son, saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. In the day to come, the mountain of the Lord's House will be the highest of the 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's God, so that He may teach us his ways and we may walk in God's paths. 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. They will not learn war any more.
Can I tell you the truth? When I read this, I wonder if I believe it. I wonder if I believe a day of peace is coming. Not just the temporary peace that says, I don't see violence in the news or I avoid it and I look away. But a deep peace, a lasting peace, a peace so complete that we get rid of the tools of conflict, our swords and our spears, and we turn them into something else. We turn them into tools of green and growing things, of plows and pruning hooks. What would it look like? The interesting thing about being here is we can see exactly what it would look like. We can take an iron bar, we can turn it into a spear and we can see if the tools of violence can be forged into something else. So let's light the fire. Let's gather our tools and let's see what can be done.