The Throne of Weapons
“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.”
Psalms 89:14 (NIVUK)
During Mozambique’s civil war, which lasted from 1976 to 1992, millions of guns and other weapons poured into the country and most of them remained hidden or buried in the bush. In 1995 Bishop Dom Dinis Sengulane set up a peace project called “Transforming Arms into Tools” (TAE). This project was an attempt to eliminate the threat presented by the hidden weapons by encouraging Mozambicans to hand them over, under an amnesty, in exchange for items such as ploughs, bicycles and sewing machines. In one case a whole village gave up its weapons in exchange for a tractor.
Some weapons, once decommissioned, were cut up and turned into sculptures by artists in Maputo (capital of Mozambique). One such work, an armchair made entirely from gun parts and termed “The Throne of Weapons,” was exhibited at the British Museum in 2005. It was intended that this throne should remain unoccupied and serve as an expression of the governing spirit of the new Mozambique – peaceful reconciliation.
Thrones are symbols of dominion, power and control. All too often, the seat of government is occupied by those who would use their power and weaponry to oppress, control, and subjugate others. In contrast, the above verse shows that the spiritual foundations of God’s throne are righteousness and justice, and that love and faithfulness emanate from it.
That love and faithfulness culminated in the incarnation and sacrifice of Jesus Christ through whom the whole of humanity has now been reconciled to God. The New Testament gospel of grace is a plea to humanity to accept the peaceful reconciliation offered through Jesus. Through him we have access to God, therefore, as the writer of Hebrews states, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
God’s ultimate gift of love and grace is salvation in his kingdom where, “He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.” (Micah 4:3)
It is of this kingdom that the prophet Isaiah writes, “Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.” (Isaiah 9:7)
Father, we pray that all humanity will ultimately know “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).
Study by Eddie Marsh
Grace Communion, Sheffield
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