April 1, 2023 Swords into plowshares
Isaiah 2, 4: He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.
I would like to show you again two stamps with a Christian message:
The Hungarian stamp shows the sculpture standing in the garden of the UN building in New York. In 1959, the Soviet Union donated this sculpture by a Russian sculptor to the UN. It is intended as a reminder of the peace goals of the UN Charter. Swords are to become plows. Tanks are to become tractors for agriculture. No nation will wage war against other nations anymore.
This image is a biblical vision. It speaks of the Messiah's kingdom of peace.
The sculpture and its biblical message seem to be long forgotten. Even if it were not in the garden in front of the UN, but right next to the lectern of the UN General Assembly - I doubt that it would make any difference.
In these times, we are again clearly experiencing that neither lip service nor sculptures lead to peace between peoples. Even stamps cannot do that. Change can only come where we deal with each other in the spirit of Christ.
This is the theme of the second stamp from 1968, when German Catholics met under the motto "In the midst of this world”. The cross of Jesus Christ and a dove can be seen.
This message is still valid today: In the middle of this world, in which military armament and bloody fighting is taking place, the cross of Jesus stands. Jesus Christ is the Lord of Peace (Isaiah 9:5 + 6). Only he can bring real peace. Without him there are only countless crosses on the graves.
The apostle Paul writes in 2.Corinthians 5, 19 + 20: “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God.”
On the stamp there is not only the cross, but also a dove. It can represent a dove of peace, but also the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is pictorially represented by the dove.
Neither old sculptures nor old stamps change us. Only God Himself can do that through the miracle of faith. His Spirit can change our hearts. Jesus Christ can and will make us people of peace. We Christians are to be ambassadors of peace and reconciliation!
I have no hope that reason will turn swords into plowshares. But I have the confidence that God's Spirit can make every human being an instrument of His peace. And I have great hope that the biblical vision will soon be fulfilled.
Thank you for listening to me. I wish you blessed Easter days. Hold fast to Jesus Christ, who carried the sin of all people to the cross. Hold fast to the hope of the resurrection. Jesus Christ lives and will create his kingdom of peace. May HE bless you!