Americans love to fight a war against something. The war on drugs, the war on underage drinking, the war on terror: all of these describe movements of concerted action against something or someone. War is nasty business really, and I wonder sometimes if we could find a better way to describe our aims, however, if war is what we want…
While washing the dishes from last night’s dinner, I had a thought about all of our war-mongering. I thought that perhaps Isaiah was talking about ending our wars against one another and launching a war against hunger in God’s perfect future.
Have a look at this:
3 Many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
4 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.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.
5 Come, O house of Jacob,
let us walk in the light of the LORD.
So in God’s perfect future there will be justice, so no one will ever want to attack each other. God will settle any pretense we can think of for war. However, I think we can learn something today from the conversion of warfare into farming.
While we never want to ignore the importance of the peace the Christ brings, and hence should never lose the importance of sharing the Gospel, this business of changing from swords to plowshares is captivating. Instead of warring with one another, Isaiah’s vision is one where we fight against hunger. We wage a full-scale war to produce and distribute food.
When I go to the super market I pass the food pantry donation bin. They usually provide a list of what is most needed. At a time with rising fuel and food prices, food pantries are being hit hard with al of those struggling to make ends meet. This business of fighting to make sure those experiencing hunger can be satisfied clicks with my American sensibilities. Perhaps a war on hunger is what we need in place of a war on terror.
Even if I’m mangling the meaning of Isaiah, which I don’t think I’m doing too badly on, we have to admit that Jesus prefers we feed the hungry when we meet them. Remember that bit in Matthew 25:37? If I may be so bold to say it, our salvation depends on it…