I REMEMBER seeing the bright gleam of a sword in a performance portraying medieval knights. It reminded me of a familiar image from my childhood: the gleam of my dad's steel plowshares as they lifted from the brown sod at the end of each furrow on bright spring days. Each winter he applied thick grease to the shares to keep them gleaming until spring.
Those shining plowshares are what I think of whenever I read that much-loved Biblical promise--or perhaps it's a demand-- ``They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks'' (Isaiah 2:4). The Bible speaks of nations doing this, so it is talking about disarmament within the family of nations, as the verse goes on to make clear: ``Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.''
Isn't there abundant evidence in the world today that people everywhere are yearning for peace? There is something we can do individually to speed mankind's progress in this desirable direction. We can bring our best--our most prayerful--thinking to the question of how to beat swords into plowshares, that is, how to convert weapons industries into more useful enterprises. The best foundation for transforming weapons industries into better ventures is a better understanding of the God, who rules His own creation, and of the nature of His man as revealed by Christ Jesus.
Since God is the loving, infinite Spirit so beautifully described in the Bible, He extends throughout all space. The omnipresent divine nature is not harsh and cold, however; it is full of love because God is divine Love itself. This Love is always expansive, always pouring forth ideas, always blessing man. We are the beloved children of God and God gives us all the positive, productive elements that are needed to better our world and our lives.
To this end, God provides us with the mental qualities essential to this work. Some of these God-derived qualities are intelligence, vision, ingenuity, and energy. These are elements of the infinite well of spiritual resources that God is always providing for His creation, and they are available to each one, everywhere.
All that God is doing benefits man. God endows man with the creative genius of pure and simple goodness with which to progress spiritually. The Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes of the man of God's creating in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. At one place she says, ``God expresses in man the infinite idea, forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis'' (p. 258).
Corporations, towns, families, or individuals faced with the loss of what had been big contracts and secure jobs in the defense industry can come to see that they have something new and wonderful to contribute. The strength and intelligence of man governed by God can find expression in the creativity and renewal that will make it possible to transform industries of destruction into today's equivalent of shining, productive plowshares.
At another place in Science and Health Mrs. Eddy points out: ``The devotion of thought to an honest achievement makes the achievement possible'' (p. 199). Mankind's burgeoning desire for peaceful progress has brought the world an unparalleled opportunity to build and rebuild on a spiritual foundation. The need to provide and to repair is as great as ever. Our God-given energy and intelligence are at hand to lead the way in the great work that lies ahead.