We continue our reflection on God’s call to us through the ELCA’s “60-Day Journey Toward Justice in a Culture of Gun Violence.”
DAY 32: Beating Guns into Garden Tools
In April 2019, Christian activists Shane Claiborne and Mike Martin stopped at Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Chicago to talk about gun violence trends and issues, the spiritual dynamics of fear and violence, and how to shape the dialogue about guns in America. Claiborne talked about his new book, Beating Guns: Hope for People Who Are Weary of Violence, which argues against a world of rampant, commonplace gun violence. Attendees also heard from a young woman who was shot while riding in a car, the sister of a young man who lost his life to gun violence, and a local representative from Moms Demand Action.
Martin, a pastor and blacksmith, ended the evening by melting down a gun and hammering it into a garden tool, a poignant process recalling Isaiah 2:4b: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” Attendees who had been personally affected by gun violence were invited to take the first swings of the hammer.
Pilgrim’s event followed a particularly violent weekend in Chicago, leaving many participants to feel this was one of those “such a time as this” moments—God calling us individually and as a community to do what we can and not lose heart.