Bullets to Beads

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Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, ad that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things.”  (Luke 24)

I had taken my college students to San Francisco to attend a conference for Episcopal college ministries, and we were attending an interfaith remembrance for Archbishop Oscar Romero at Grace Cathedral. The parade of speakers combined with the general college ministry schedule of sleep-for-the-weak led to my attention soon drifting off. Suddenly, I snapped back to focus. On the dais was a local Hindu monk, speaking in a thoughtful, even lilt. “Last week, I received this box of bullets,” he mused.

Fantastic, I thought, inwardly cringing.  It’s a death threat.  Some loony fundamentalist sent this nice guy a box of bullets to scare him. 

As I carried on a cynical monologue in my head, about the awfulness of humanity, the monk explained calmly that he had canvassed his neighbors, and figured out that the bullet box was, in fact, a mis-delivery.  It had been intended for his downstairs neighbor–a federal agent of some variety.

“But he had already received a replacement, so I thought, ‘What can I do with these? What would bring peace, what would resurrect these weapons?'”

He held up a bowl filled with golden pebbles.  “So I melted them down, and I made them into prayer beads.  Because, I thought, you would like to have them.  So take one, please, everyone.  And we can bring some resurrection together.”

I still have mine. It lives in my jacket pocket, and reminds me that resurrection isn’t just a singular act, once-and-boom! event.  It’s a repeated, habitual transformational remaking of the world we participate in.

Take a picture of resurrection and transformation somewhere in your life today.

-Megan Castellan

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