A Used Heaven and a Used Earth
They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. – Isaiah 2:4 (NRSV)
My friend Mike is the cofounder of The Repurpose Project in Gainesville, Florida, “a creative reuse center, a.k.a. weird thrift store.” The goal of the shop is to support a “used economy,” avoiding the costs—to consumers and to the planet—of creating new products.
It’s part sliding-scale general store, where folks with low incomes can find what they need at a bargain. Part architectural salvage, where residents can imagine new homes from old. Part studio space, where artists create beautiful installation pieces. Part playroom, where kids and grown-ups can grab glue guns and bring something fun to life from the world’s largest junk drawer.
It is all a little bit of heaven.
Revelation gives a vision of a new heaven and a new earth. But Isaiah is more sustainable. He offers the people a used heaven and a used earth.
Bins of swords are dug out from behind the old 45s and turned into plows. Rusty spears are untangled from the nest of cell phone chargers and shaped into hooks. The tools of war are put to better use at a bargain price.
It would be a shame to just throw them out, given all they’ve cost us.
And considering the energy that’s gone into making them, the users too, get repurposed by their creator. Glued back together for new life.
Imagine. Us sword-lifters and war-learners, put back to work as farmers and urban gardeners. A little bit of heaven.
Creative Reuser, do not dispose of me. But give me a second life.
Vince Amlin is co-pastor of Bethany UCC, Chicago, and co-planter of Gilead Church Chicago, forming now.