As I look at the sun rising over the Belfast River turning the marsh a pale gold, the peace of the morning creeps into my bones. It’s hard to contemplate “peace on Earth” as we are bombarded with news of alert statuses here and abroad, the Paris attacks, Belgium arrests, the Russian plane sabotage and loss of innocents.
Yet “peace” is the promise of Isaiah.
“And many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us concerning his ways and that we may walk in his paths.’ For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he will judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many peoples; and they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war. Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:3-4).
What a wonderful future for mankind! But how do we get there?
At the Last Supper, Jesus spoke of the unity of all mankind when he said, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one, I in them and you in me, so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:20-23).
In John, Jesus seems to tell us that his prayer is also for those who will believe in him through their own message, so the all may be brought to complete unity. Jesus speaks of love as a way forward.
“Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31).
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34).
Baha’i writings tell us, “God the Almighty has created all mankind from the dust of the Earth. He fashioned them all from the same elements; they are descended from the same race and live upon the same globe; He has created them to dwell beneath the one heaven.
“All men are the leaves and fruit of the one same tree, they are all branches of the tree of Adam, they all have the same origin. The same rain has fallen upon them all, the same warm sun makes them grow, they are all refreshed by the same breeze. The only differences that exist and that keep them apart are these: there are the children who need guidance, the ignorant to be instructed, the sick to be tended and healed; thus I say the whole of humanity is enveloped by the mercy and grace of God. As the Holy Writings tell us, ‘All men are equal before God.’
“The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens …”
As we enter the holiday season, let us all pray and call upon the mercy and grace of God to assist all of us and all the world leaders to make wise decisions for the safety and prosperity of all humanity. Peace on Earth and goodwill to all mankind!