Ellen Loudon

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they shall beat their swords into ploughshares

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He shall judge between the nations,
and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.

Isaiah 2.4

Each Wednesday we share morning prayer at St John Chrysostom Church together at 10am. Those who are able to get there take it in turns to share a thought, read from the bible and pray together. The reading for Wednesday’s morning prayer was from Isaiah 2.1-11. I was leading and shared a story that was mentioned in my reflections for daily prayer. It is a story of great hope and contains the vision that Isaiah creates for us i this reading – of people beating their weapons into ploughshares and spears into pruning-hooks. This is the Tree of Life (see picture) project – where the people of Mozambique can swop their weapons for farm machinery and tools. The weapons are then decommissioned and made into amazing pieces of art.

In the words of the curators at the British Museum:

The Tree of Life was made by four Mozambican artists: Cristovao Canhavato (Kester), Hilario Nhatugueja, Fiel dos Santos and Adelino Serafim Maté. It is a product of the Transforming Arms into Tools (TAE) project and is made from decommissioned weapons.

TAE was set up by Bishop Dom Dinis Sengulane in 1995 and is supported by Christian Aid. During Mozambique’s civil war, which lasted from 1976 to 1992, millions of guns and other weapons poured into the country and most of them remain hidden or buried in the bush. The project is an attempt to eliminate the threat presented by the hidden weapons. Mozambicans are encouraged to hand them over in exchange for items like ploughs, bicycles and sewing machines. In one case a whole village gave up its weapons in exchange for a tractor.

Once the weapons are decommissioned, they are cut up and turned into sculptures by the artists in Maputo. This process has produced the Tree of Life and the Throne of Weapons, also created by Kester.

This is a vision worth holding onto as we come to our Remembrance Sunday services tomorrow. In the midst of the horror of war we should also cling on to the hope of transformation.


Written by ellenloudon

November 7, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Posted in peace

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