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David, All Saints by TheRevSteve
David, All Saints, a photo by TheRevSteve on Flickr.

From the Old Testament reading at Holy Communion:
They shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.
(Isaiah, chapter 2, verse 4, NRSV)

This glass (a section of the east window in All Saints’ church, Jesus Lane, Cambridge) depicts David – a man who knew what swords were about if there ever was one, and yet was “a man after God’s heart”.

Eschatological hope is one thing, but we still live in the time of swords and spears. We can denounce, or even renounce, violence, but let’s not pretend that will make it go away. Sometimes the only answer to violence is resistance, and the only route to peace is by destruction of the violent.

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