Two Swords

Ausbund, 66

One morning early, before the rising of the sun, I heard a young man pray: “Oh God, my faith is weak. Will you answer me from heaven?”

God, Eternal Wisdom, spoke to him, “Whatever you ask me, I will tell you. I heal the sick. Look for Christ and you will find him.”

The young man said, “I am already healed in Christ. Thank you, God, for setting my heart at rest. But there is much more I stand in need of knowing.”

God said, “Learn from my Son the way of true humility. Take up the cross like he did and follow him through grief and pain.”

“That I will do,” the young man replied. “I will take the cross and his yoke upon me. But will I find within me the strength to carry it out?”

God, Eternal Goodness, spoke again, “My dear son, even though your courage is weak, remember I will not give you more than you can bear.”

“Then,” the young man said, “I will ask you my first question: Is it right for the rulers of the land to use force in matters of faith? Does the use of force belong in your kingdom?”

No it does not. Moses used the law and a sword. But the Kingdom of Christ has begun. Come running, if you want to take part in it!

Whoever believes and lives by your teachings today, earns the world’s wrath. The world hustles him off to jail and tries to turn him against you.

Do not let that discourage you from choosing me. The king’s heart is in my hands and I know the number of hairs on your head. Not one of them falls unless I allow it.

The authorities think Christians may use the sword and see nothing wrong with it.

I gave the sword of the Spirit for Christians to use. With it they overcome the enemy. But those that fight with other weapons—the weapons of this world—lose the benefit of my protection.

The authorities are not satisfied with the sword of the Spirit. They say that if we used no carnal weapons we would end up living like cattle.

Like Daniel and Paul said, I gave the sword to worldly authorities for vengeance and punishment, but only for a certain time.

The authorities that carry the sword claim to be the defenders of Christian faith on earth. That is what their title says.

I did not give wordly authorities the right to use power in matters of faith. I want no one to serve me only because he has to.

I speak to you about these things, even though I am but a little worm in your presence, because it looks to me like worldly authorities have set themselves into your place.

Anyone doing that is an accomplice to the devil, the abomination Daniel described.

Strengthen me Lord. Increase my faith and help me to stick with you even when worldly powers come down on me in wrath.

The one that overcomes in faith, bearing suffering in love and patience, has Jesus Christ for his shield.

Oh God, salvation of my soul, does the sword have no place with you at all? It pains me to think that people might be killed in the hereafter.

At the end of time, I will separate the two swords. The sword of the Spirit belongs to my kingdom. But the sword of the world will be locked out of it forever.

Praise to you Lord God, to the Spirit, and to the Son, for giving me this clear answer!

Let the matter stand with this: Vengeance is mine. I will deal with everyone according to what he has done.

anonymous Anabaptist writer, 16’th century, Europe

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