As I was looking through my calendar and noting what I have to do for the rest of the month I saw that today, September 21st, was important to a big portion of the world: it is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and it is the Islamic New Year and it is the UN International Day of Peace. Looking at that I wondered if the great God arranged that interesting combination!
Naturally, loving research as I do, I started looking up some information (I guess we 'google' things now. A new verb). The date for Rosh Hashanah, like Easter, depends on the lunar cycle. This year it is in September and is the first of Jewish High Holy Days.
The Islamic New Year is called Muharram and is based on a calendar different from the Gregorian. Again we google and learn that there is fasting, pilgrimages, parades and a time of peace. This is the most sacred month in the calendar. Various Islamic sects vary their celebrations.
The United Nations General Assembly declares this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. The theme for this year is "Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for all." The Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, "Discrimination diminishes us all. It prevents people -- and societies -- from achieving their full potential." He added, "Together let us stand up against bigotry and for human rights. Together, let us build bridges. Together, let us transform fear into hope."
His words have been said before, many times, but too often the hunger for power, the importance of status draw us away from a way that allows people to just live. In our own country we watch the politicians scrambling over each other in the hopes of making the evening news and being allowed their moment in the camera's eye.
Again we are watching the health care issue come to the forefront and potentially destroy the dreams for a better life for millions of people. And we get tired of fighting big business and big government and big industry and medicine and all those institutions that keep one foot on the neck of those who are down and out. But it is so important to speak out for peace and understanding and to prayer for the will to speak out.
On this day promoting international peace and on this day of the beginning of a new year for millions in our world, could we as individuals make a new beginning to walk a path of peace on their behalf? It seems a simple enough pledge.