I held a real gun in my hands for the first time tonight. It had a bit of weight to it, like I imagined it would. The metal was dirty and rough, the wood smooth and polished. Holding it, I wondered if the gun had ever been used, been fired, and why.
Had it been aimed at another person? Had someone used it to frighten, harm, or kill? If it had, I knew it would no longer be used in such a way.
I spent this evening in Leigh-on-Sea, listening to a few people tell their stories. One guy in particular, Shane Claibourne shared his story of how he and his church in Philadelphia were praying for an end to gun violence in their city. They had started to be creative in the way they did this, asking people to donate their guns, which would then be melted down, and beaten, so they became new items. Items like sculptures, guitars, and other things.
The gun I held tonight had been melted and beaten into a pick-axe, used for gardening.
A tool for war made into a tool for growing. Something used to injure could now be used to nurture.
I think it represented a fundamental truth, that even (or perhaps especially) from the full roar of destruction, a redemptive tale can be told, where light and healing abound.
May we all remember to take our weapons of injustice and make them into tools for hope.
May we not be blind to the types of violence that are all around us.
May we continue to trust for ourselves, and for others, beautiful things can be made from the dust.