The Lord Almighty makes wars cease to the ends of the earth.He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Psalm 46:7-11
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.
Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the Lord Almighty has spoken. Micah 4:2-5
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9
The Psalmist declares that God rules over even the violent and powerful, that He smashes the weapons of war to pieces. The prophet Micah looked forward to a day when all violence would be overcome, when the weapons of the world would be willingly turned into farm tools, and nobody would ever need to be afraid. And Jesus gave His disciples, and by extension us, the task of seeking peace between the now–with all of its wars, gang violence, police shootings of unarmed citizens, and mob violence at neighborhood grocery stores–and the not-yet-here-peace when there will be nothing to make any of us afraid.
Jesus, we are angry and tired of the violence in our neighborhoods, nation, and world, and we are tired of the violence in our own hearts. We confess that as a community we are addicted to violence and hate, that the line between good and evil runs straight through our hearts. Lord, smash our guns and knives and let us recognize the violence of our hateful speech and angry thoughts; turn the weapons of our hands and hearts into instruments of love and mercy. King Jesus, we do pray for earthly justice, for arrests and convictions for the perpetrators of violence, and we do pray for physical healing for the victims. Yet, more than either of these, we pray that you would drown all of us, including the perpetrators and the victims of the violence at Kroger this weekend, in the vast ocean of your Great Love, free of all hate and fear and filled with your peace. Fill us up with that same Holy Spirit that raised you from the dead, and bring life even in the midst of the death that lurks in our lives and in our neighborhoods.