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Isaiah 2:1-5
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.
Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD.

I came across this quote from Time magazine. It's dated 2002 and is entitled "Today is a Great Day to buy a Used AK-47"

It seems some people in Afghanistan are preparing for peacetime, as weapons are going for bargain prices these days. According to Time magazine, prices on knives, Kalashnikov rifles, and rocket-propelled grenades have dropped 50 percent since December.

Isaiah 2:1-5
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.
 Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD.


I came across this quote from Time magazine. It's dated 2002 and is entitled "Today is a Great Day to buy a Used AK-47"

It seems some people in Afghanistan are preparing for peacetime, as weapons are going for bargain prices these days. According to Time magazine, prices on knives, Kalashnikov rifles, and rocket-propelled grenades have dropped 50 percent since December.

One dealer tried to interest a Time reporter in a Kalashnikov for the bargain price of $200, with 100 rounds thrown in "to close the sale." The man, who identified himself only as Abdul, said he wouldn't need his weapons anymore. "Peace has come to Afghanistan," he says. "The King is coming home, and people are sick of fighting."

If only it were so!
It seems that Abdul's enthusiasm is a bit premature.

I did a bit of research and looked up a web site that shows sales and profitability for the 100 largest arms corporations world-wide. Not every one of those companies showed a profit, but most did, and among the top 100 are some well known names like Boeing, General Electric, Samsung, Daimler Chrysler, General Motors, and even our own Bombardier, who in 2002 was one of the few not to make a profit.1

I came across another article in Earth Times, which quotes Scientific American:

According to Scientific American magazine, more than 100 conflicts have erupted since the end of the cold war, killing more than five million people. "Little of the destruction was inflicted by the tanks, artillery or aircraft usually associated with modern warfare," the magazine said. "Rather, most was carried out with pistols, machine guns and grenades ... However beneficial the end of the cold war has been in other respects, it has let loose a global deluge of surplus weapons into a setting in which the risk of local conflict appears to have grown markedly."2.

So who is right?
Is it Abdul or the statistics?
I think Abdul speaks for most of us in our longing. The king is coming and we are all sick of the fighting.
But we know the statistics too. We are turning out spears and swords as fast now as ever; maybe faster.
Spears into pruning hooks!
Swords into plowshares!
Come O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord.

I love the speeches of Martin Luther King Jr.
I especially love his "I have a Dream" speech. Its pure magic and pure gospel.
His speech contains these powerful words:

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!" 

God gave Isaiah the dream.
God gave Martin Luther King Jr. the dream.
What dream has God given you?
A world of peace?  I hope so
A world of hope and joy and health and food for all?  I hope that too.
God gave us the dream.
We don't long for these things for no reason.
This is one of the things that makes us human. We can long for a better future. We can dream of a world better than the one we have. It's part of our nature; the nature that is in God's own image.
The dreams come from God because we sense God's plan and God's will for our world.

When we pray the Lord's prayer and we come to that part that says, "thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven", that's what it means. It means God, please turn the dream into reality.
As it is in heaven is all the things we long for.
That is God's will. To do that here on earth.

And we see how God has put the first part of the plan into action.
He sent his own Son into our world of pain and suffering, to take our pain and suffering and then to open a door into the will of God.

The advent, the coming of Jesus was to show us the will of God. You look at the life of Jesus and you see the heart of God.
You imagine Jesus in charge of our world and you see the fulfillment of the plan of God.
God gave us the dream, but God also gave us tangible flesh and blood who lived, not a dream, but a hard reality life.
He did not dream and sleepwalk his way through life. He lived it a day and a heartbeat at a time.
He felt the pain, he knew sorrow and disappointment. He knew laughter and he knew anticipation. He knew what life was what it should be and what it ultimately would be.

We celebrate the advent of Jesus because in Him we see in him the fulfillment of all our hopes.
As the Christmas carol puts it, "The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight."

God gave us the dream.
God also provided the fulfillment to the dream.

Isaiah's vision has not yet come.
Spears into pruning hooks!
Swords into plowshares!
Not yet. Maybe soon. But the day will come.
God promised he would send his anointed one.
He has come.
The day of the Lord will come too.

Then it will be spears into pruning hooks, swords into plowshares.
Nation will not rise up against nation, nor will they learn war anymore.
What a dream for the future.

Gonna lay down my sword and shield
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside
Gonna lay down my sword and shield
Down by the riverside
Ain't gonna study war no more.

refrain

I ain't gonna study war no more,
I ain't gonna study war no more,
Study war no more.
I ain't gonna study war no more,
I ain't gonna study war no more,
Study war no more.

Gonna put on my long white robe;
Down By the riverside
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside
Gonna put on my long white robe; Down by the riverside
Gonna study war no more

I ain't gonna study war no more,
I ain't gonna study war no more,
Study war no more.
I ain't gonna study war no more,
I ain't gonna study war no more,
Study war no more.

As Abdul says, The King is coming and we are sick of the fighting.
Come O house of West Shore, let us walk in the light of the Lord!

Preached November 28, 2004
Dr. Harold McNabb
West Shore Presbyterian Church
Victoria, British Columbia


Notes
1.
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The SIPRI List of Top 100 arms-producing companies
2. Robert E. Sullivan, "Burgeoning Small Arms Trade
 Has High Profits and Losses", Earth Times, March 2001 

Online Resources Consulted
PreachingToday.com
Email Harold McNabb

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