Prayer: Ploughshares into Swords

Here’s a prayer inspired by Isaiah 2:1-5 from Walter Brueggemann.  It was posted on the North Carolina Council of Churches website.

Prayer: Their Plowshares Are Beat Into Swords
(inspired by Isaiah 2: 1-5)

And now their plowshares are beat into swords—as are ours,
now their pruning hooks are beat into spears—as are ours.
Not only swords and spears,
but bullets, and bombs, and missiles,
of steel on flesh,
of power against bodies …
And you, in your indignation sound your mantra,
“Blessed are the peacemakers.”

We dare to believe they are the aggressor,
and we are the peacemaker.
Yet in sober night dream, we glance otherwise
and think we may be aggressor,
as we vision rubbled homes,
murdered civilians,and charred babies.
And you, in our sadness, sound your mantra,
“Blessed are the peacemakers.”

We do not love war,
we yearn for peace,
but we have lost much will for peace
even while we dream of order.
And you, in your hope, sound your mantra,
“Blessed are the peacemakers.”

Deliver us from excessive certitude about ourselves.
Hold us in the deep ambiguity where we find ourselves,
Show us yet again the gaping space
between your will and our feeble imagination.
Sound your mantra with more authority,
with more indignation,
through sadness,
in hope … “Blessed be the peacemakers.”

Only peacemakers are blessed.
We find ourselves well short of blessed.
Give us freedom for your deep otherwise,
finally to be blessed,
in the name of the Peacemaker
who gave and did not take. Amen.

~ written by Walter Breuggemann on the occasion of the bombing of Serbia in March of 1999. In Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: Prayers of Walter Brueggemann, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003). Posted on the North Carolina Council of Churches website.