“LET THERE BE PEACE ON EARTH”
“Let there be peace on earth” is the first line of a well-known hymn and surely the words are very relevant to today's world. There never has been peace on earth for once one part of the world has it's problems sorted out, trouble breaks out elsewhere. My generation can look back to the WW2, the Korean War, the Vienam War, the Irish Troubles, the Falklands War and that is to name only a few. The world is in a constant state of battle and turmoil and many of these wars and acts of terrorism are caused by religious intolerance. Certain people seem to think they have the right to dictate to others how God is to be worshipped and how we must all live our lives.
As Spiritualists we all know that there is only one God for every religion. He may be called by different names and worshipped in different ways but that does not alter the fact that that there is only one God and that the entire human race is His family. I am fortunate to live in a country where religious freedom is practiced. Citizens are free to attend the church of their own choice and in all walks of life we mix with others who practice their faith in different ways. Of course there are always some people who remain bigots. What if anything can be done to sort out this problem and bring peace to our world? I am reminded of a story I once heard of a child trying to piece together the parts of a paper puzzle to make a picture of the world. It was difficult and then she discovered that the puzzle pieces had another picture on their reverse - a picture of a man. She turned the pieces over and started to join them up to complete the picture of the man. Lo and behold when she had finished and turned the picture over she found she had correctly joined up the puzzle pieces of the world. “Once I got the man right” she explained, “The world came right as well.” Now surely there is a lesson there for all of us. To get the world right we must first get the human race right. We must as individuals practise tolerance of other faiths and systems of belief and teach our children to do likewise. The second line of the above hymn is “And let it begin with me.”
While I can understand honest discussion about different religious viewpoints I cannot understand why some individuals feel they must kill others of different religious convictions. The God whom I worship loves everyone exactly the same and He also has commanded “Thou shalt not kill.” Do they honestly think they are pleasing God by killing other members of His family? Does a father love some of his children more than others? As the child's puzzle proved - get the man right and the world will also be right or as further lines of this lovely hymn puts it:
“With God as our Father -brothers all are we,
Let me walk with my brother - through all eternity.
Let there be peace of earth and let it begin with me.”
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