I have a mighty pen I prefer over any other pen. I carry it with me always. When someone offers me a pen to sign a document or a payment slip, I pull out my mighty pen and sign it. I like the way my name looks on the paper. It is bold and clear. My name pulsates on the page when I write it with this pen.
I am careful signing my name. I am proud of my name and the family heritage it represents. I love my family and using the right pen to sign my name, and to declare my identity and heritage, is an important part of personhood for me.
In a Bible study group I teach regularly is a certified handwriting expert. He is always making insightful comments about my writing on the whiteboard in our classroom. Sometimes I agree and sometimes I disagree. Sometimes I like what he says and sometimes I do not. When I really want him to analyze my handwriting, I pull out my mighty pen and write on a piece of paper.
My mighty pen is not an expensive pen. It is not a cheap pen. It is a pen purchased either online or at a big box office supply store. Finding refills is not always easy. When I cannot find them, I just buy more pens with the cartridge already in them. I have a desk full of them. Periodically one breaks, and I reluctantly throw it away.
I do not have a sword. A gun. Or other weapons. I do not need one. I have a pen. And, the pen is mightier than the sword. My pen empowers me to write words and craft documents that illuminate the living Word of God and the Church on earth, which is undeniably mightier than the sword. If any sword is at play through my pen, it is the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.
Those who have only a sword, rather than a pen, are like Lucy of Peanuts cartoon fame. I remember cartoons where Charlie Brown or Linus–take your pick–were trying to answer one of her impossible questions or dilemmas. Then all of a sudden she cocks her fist and goes “POW” as she hits him. She then turns to us and says, “I had to hit him. He was beginning to make sense.”
Sword bearers and their fighters do not have a pen. They cannot write the words that express their feelings. When they disagree, they slash someone. Rather than working at putting words together that form powerful ideas, they believe executing those with whom they disagree will silence their pen. It will not.
This fact was proven again recently in Paris, France as so-called Islamic radicals failed to silence the pen of Charlie Hebdo. I do not necessarily have any affirmation for the satire of Charlie Hebdo, but I do defend the mighty nature of the pen and the freedom of expression. If I do not give others that freedom, I cannot claim it for myself.
What is sad about the attacks in France is that the Islamic prophet Muhammad is reported to have said, “The ink of the scholar is holier than the blood of the martyr”.
Some people of Islamic faith are like some Christians. They scan the scriptures they consider holy to find the part with which they agree. They look for justifications of what they desire to be and do anyway. They contradict love with hate. They oppose grace in favor of judgment.
As Jesus taught us, “Those who take up the sword, shall perish by the sword.” [Matthew 26:52 NASB]. May we always be people who follow the written and living Word of God. May we be grateful that the stories of the drama of redemption were put into writing using the pens of those times. May we embrace the Word of God to be living within and among us for the creation and sustaining of a world of unconditional love.