Peace articles that discuss ways of living in peace with humans, animals, and the environment.
by John and Anna McConnell
Is there hope for the future? The horrible events on our planet deepen our awareness of evil. We have a wonderful planet. But hate, fear, greed, lust and war continue to make life on our planet a dismal night of despair.
However, at Christmas attention for the Star of Bethlehem brings warm feelings of cheer. On the days just before Christmas, wherever you go, you find people more friendly and cheerful. Many radio and TV programs feature beautiful Christmas Carols.
The record of history clearly shows that the power of compassion, justice and freedom in the last 2000 years was most inspired by the amazing story of Jesus -- who he was and what he said and did.
While other religions and beliefs have also fostered the ways of peace, I have found in Jesus my guiding star. In my case, the words and deeds of Jesus inspired Earth Day and my Earth Trustee efforts to provide a better future for the human family.
Differences and difficulties abound. But the blacker the night, the brighter the star. Its darkest before dawn and day will soon come.
Star of wonder, star of light,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.
STAR OF HOPE
Following is what I wrote right after the launch on October 4, 1957 of Sputnik -- the first satellite in Space. This was the editorial in my weekly newspaper, The Toe Valley View -- published in Bakersville, N. C. (The editorial was edited by our wonderful Editor, Louise Toness.) Sputnik was the name of the Russian satellite that began the Space Program.
My editorial was picked up by the wire services and obtained global attention:
THE TOE VALLEY VIEW
Bakersville, North Carolina
October 31, 1957
Make Our Satellite A Symbol Of Hope!
Usually in these editorial columns we stick pretty closely to local matters. But some issues arising outside our own locality become so universal in importance that they are "local" for everyone in the world. Of course we are referring now to earth satellites and man’s venture into the conquest of Space.
What was science fiction only yesterday has become visible – audible – fact today. "After a lifetime of some 250,000 years on earth ...man has conquered earth gravity and stands poised on the era of universal exploration." writes Norman Cousins in a penetrating editorial in "The Saturday Review" for Oct. 19, called "Sense and Satellites."
But, he points out, the event brings "no universal feeling of release or jubilation," overcast as it is by the chill of a cold war and the threat of extinction by intercontinental missiles utilizing the same principles used in launching the satellite. The answer, Cousins says, is "not to conjure up more effective ways of destroying the world." (How trivial is the whole argument of who or what is to blame for the Russians’ getting ahead of us in the armed missiles race – when we consider that the race itself can lead only to destruction!)
"The principal need," insists the Saturday Review editor, "is to tap our intelligence and moral imagination to the fullest in creating a working design for a better tomorrow in which all the world’s people can share. …A great idea looking towards the development of a world community will circle the globe more rapidly than the fastest satellite. It will give us access to the majority of the world’s peoples – on whom security really depends. It will also help to make life bearable on this planet before we take off for other ones."
Now is the moment when "Peace On Earth" might have its best opportunity for realization. When men work together for some great goal they share, the forces that make for peace and understanding have the best chance to operate. And a greater goal could scarcely be dreamed of than the exploration of the Universe, in man’s eternal search to find and understand his place in the Universe.
What will be the effect upon the world when our own satellite is launched? Will it turn the world toward peace and unity, or away? We need some symbol of peace, to give the world a promise that conquest of space will be for good and not for evil. To create such a symbol would require no new discoveries. The means are already at hand to make the appearance of our satellite as startling an event as the appearance of Sputnik, but startling in a different way. Could not the small satellite to be launched in December according to present plans appear as a brightly shining Star of Hope?
The mechanics of the thing should not be too difficult. The body of the satellite could be covered with some highly reflective material such as aluminum foil. More difficult would be the task of convincing the peoples of the earth that this was not just a propaganda device. Indeed, we would need to make sure ourselves, as a nation, that it was not!
The symbol would need to be accompanied by sincere words and convincing deeds in the direction of peace and world cooperation.
It is true that certain segments of humanity do not believe in the Event symbolized by the star of Christmas. But there is no religion or no nation on earth (considering people, not governments) that does not respond with hope and longing to the angel’s song of Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men.
The above 1957 editorial was indpired by the Star of Bethlehem. I urge Space Program People to announce that they will launch a Star of Hope Satellite on October 4, 2007. This will be the 50th Anniversary of Sputnik. Given suitable attention, the story would unite the peacemakers of our planet and aid their efforts. It would get attention and wake up the mighty rulers of the United States and other countries. It would help them see and support nonviolent solutions.
We will have global peace when we devote our money and amazing technology to spread the proven power of faith and love demonstrated by Jesus.
Let's pray for a mighty spiritual awakening - and then put feet to our prayers. This will result in our wealth and actions fostering peaceful progress on our amazing planet.
October 4 is St. Francis Day
Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love,
Where there is injury, pardon,
Where there is despair, hope,
Where there is darkness, light,
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine master, grant that I may not
So much seek to be consoled, as to console,
To be understood, as to understand,
To be loved, as to love,
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is dying that we are born to eternal life.
Let there be peace on Earth. and let it begin with all of us.
May the spirit of peace found in Christmas bless you and your loved ones.
John and Anna McConnell
4924 E. Kentucky Circle
Denver, CO 80246