Scripture: Isaiah 2:1-4
Guns to Gardens
In the second chapter of Isaiah, the poem is a prophet’s vision of a hopeful future and how to live to accomplish it. The ancient desire of mankind for peace is in an oft quoted verse from Isaiah 2:4: “they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks.” This recipe for hope and peace is as relevant today as it was in Isaiah’s time.
While contemplating this verse I thought about how desperately we need to live this out today. Close to home I thought of the gun violence that has been rocking the U.S. and causing so much heartache and pain. I admire people who have found creative ways to object to our violent culture.
In Colorado Springs lives a 37-year- old Mennonite man who learned to turn guns into gardening tools. Michael Martin had been contemplating this before a deranged man with an AR-15 assault rifle massacred 20 children and 6 educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. After that, Michael was inspired to learn the blacksmithing craft and started his organization, RAWtools (raw is opposite of war). People send him boxes of unwanted handguns, assault rifles, and semi-automatics. Some people donate guns after a suicide. There is an uptick of donations after mass shootings. The results are dandelion diggers and spades from handguns, and double-sided hoes from thick-barreled assault rifles that are used to grow vegetables in private homes and community gardens. Food grown is often donated to city food banks and homeless shelters.
The idea has grown, and there are now satellite shops in other cities with similar programs. Michael knows it’s a drop in the bucket, but people find psychological healing and hope from his project. It’s all part of what is called healing justice, and a powerful symbol of hope for those involved.
Prayer: God of Hope and Peace. May we find ways of living that creates healing for those experiencing pain and may we plant gardens where there has been violence. Amen.
~ Brenda Mehos