Did you know Oct. 24-30 is Disarmament Week? I’ll bet I’m not the only one who hadn’t heard of it. The observance came about through the United Nations. It also commemorates the day that the UN was founded, Oct. 24, 1945.
In its beginning, Disarmament Week was meant to improve international relations and prevent future wars.
Sadly, today we are living in a time of rearmament — by individuals as well as countries — rather than disarmament.
Perhaps for you, like me, global disarmament seems like an issue so large and a goal so impossible that it is difficult to wrap your mind around. But I won’t ever scoff at efforts for peace. I’m grateful that capable and dedicated people are working toward this end.
My mind went pretty quickly to smaller-scale disarmament — and the RAWtools project, which you might also be aware of. We’ve covered their efforts in Anabaptist World. Many churches across the United States have held Swords to Plowshares events where they dismantle and repurpose firearms into gardening tools for those who turn them in.
RAWtools’ mission is to “disarm hearts and forge peace.” They also have nonviolence training, resources and networking.
You can find out more about RAWtools at rawtools.org. Considering the constant gun violence in the United States, Disarmament Week is the perfect time to learn more about their work and how you too can forge peace.
Since Separateness is a bit of an Anabaptist superpower, sometimes we mistake isolation for peace. Or we mistake the avoidance of conflict as peace. However, those who have the wisdom and courage to step into spaces of discomfort and conflict are the ones who we hold today as peacemaking heroes.
What can you do this week to learn, grow or act toward peacemaking in your home, community or country?
Go as big as the world if you’d like. Whatever you can do to disarm weapons of conflict — including anger, suspicion and prejudice — will be an important step forward.