From Pastor Caroline (5/25/22) . . .

Beating Guns

May 25, 2022

“He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks…come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.”
~Isaiah 2:4-5

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

~Galatians 5:13-14

This morning I gave my kid a hug and a kiss and sent him off to elementary school. I held him a
little tighter and a little longer as I prayed over him for safety and protection. I did so with more
anxiety than normal but also with great pain and sorrow for those who gave their kid a hug and a
kiss yesterday, sent them off to school, and said goodbye for the last time. My heart aches for
those who will never again have that joy.

As children of God, we lament. We are called to lament. We are graciously offered space to
lament. But after our lamenting we, as disciples of Jesus, are called to action. Our grief and
sorrow spurs us on. We have the power to move to action that helps prevent further loss, further
pain.

You and I have been given a freedom that many never have the opportunity to experience. We
live in a country where the laws that govern our country are determined by the citizens that
inhabit the country. That means that, currently, the majority of the people in our country are
satisfied with the current state of affairs. Either that, or the majority of the people in our country
are apathetic to current realities.

But, as a disciple of Jesus, I am not sure how this can be. The Pew Foundation claims that 65%
of Americans identify themselves as Christians; that is as followers of Jesus. Scripture tells me
that these two facts are at odds. The vision given by the prophet Isaiah says:

“God will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks…come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.”

God’s vision is that our weapons, our guns, will be beaten into plowshares and pruning hooks.
God’s vision is that our weapons will be transformed from tools of destruction to tools that till
the ground and work the land to create new life. We are the children of God. We are called to
bring forth God’s kingdom in the world around us. I don’t see plowshares; I see children
murdered.

You and I are free in a way that many are not. What do we do with that freedom? What are we
called to do with that freedom? Paul, the apostle of Jesus, said:

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

As disciples of Jesus we are free, but that freedom comes with great responsibility. We are not
free to indulge our own desires. We are not free to promote laws that lead to the loss of innocent
lives. We are free to surrender our guns. We are free to surrender our weapons. We are free to
surrender that which is harmful and destructive in order that we might serve one another humbly
in love. Because as Christians, all that we are and all that we do should be honoring and pleasing
to God. Holding onto the right to carry a gun honors and pleases you alone.

On June 4, 2022 there is an opportunity for people to take their guns to First African Baptist
Church of Savannah, Georgia and have those guns melded and beaten into plowshares, shovels,
pitchforks and other gardening tools. This is not a new or special event. This is a regular
opportunity that is done around the country and has been done for many years. For more
information go to https://www.beatingguns.com/

So I urge you pray for the families who lost loved ones in the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas
yesterday. I urge you to lament. I urge you to grieve. Then, I urge you to take action. Call your
state representative. Call your community leaders. Call on your fellow brothers and sisters in
Christ. Because you and I are in this together. We are called to more than what we are doing. We
are called to be more than we are.

“…come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.”

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Caroline