Two distinctive seasons in our time cycles are marked by the vernal and autumnal equinox that signalize the equal lengths of day and night as the sun crosses the equator. A more rare and spectacular occurrence is that which appeared throughout the nation on Monday as the sun was eclipsed, obscuring the light from one celestial body by the passage of another between it and the observers as between it and its source of illumination.
The vernal equinox that begins each March 21 signalizes Spring, the warming of the earth after the long, cold winter and the rejuvenation of life with all of its innocent beauty. The autumnal equinox is the symbol of the end of the long, hot and sometimes dry summer–although not so much this year, and the beginning of Fall in mid September. These two cycles can also be equated with the second verse of Ecclesiastes: To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven; A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted…” harvest time! Time to reap the fruits of what has been planted!
What seeds have been (and continue to be) planted by this new nation (compared in age to others)?
“From its very inception the United States was unlike other nations,” states an article in the Baha’i World Order magazine (dated Winter 1975-76!) “The country had been settled by pilgrims who sought to build in the wilderness of a virtually unknown continent, a New Jerusalem. Yet their pursuit of the Kingdom quickly revealed paradoxes that would plague their descendants ever after.
Professing Christianity, they nevertheless disposed and massacred the original inhabitants of the land to which they themselves had come in quest of refuge. Victims of religious intolerance, they established a puritan tyranny in their new home. Vociferous champions of human dignity and freedom, they imported hundreds of thousands of slaves whose toil helped clear the woods, drain the swamps and raise the crops. Fearful of a stern God and wishing to do His Will, they produced a government of laws and much lawlessness.
Yet America’s pursuit of wealth and power had an odd quality about it. Above all, they were dominated by a sense of destiny and mission. Below the surface of the struggle for existence, of selfishness and greed often elevated into principle, there survived the conviction that the country had a historical task to perform, that the brotherhood of man was not an illusion, that justice for all was not an idle dream and that man was not a beast condemned forever to live at war with his own kind! Perhaps it was this inner conviction that impelled the educated to create in this country the world’s first and largest system of mass education; the whites to struggle for the rights of the blacks, and the rich to engage in philanthropy on a scale unparalleled elsewhere!”
“Today the earth is an armed camp,” we are reminded in a pamphlet entitled Beyond National Sovereignty. Expenses for weapons and new war technology strain national budgets, regional wars continue to erupt into wider conflicts while the ominous shadow of global nuclear war raises doubts about humanity’s survival! Even if the superpowers are able to maintain their delicate stalemate, the proliferation of neuclear weapons to other nations enhances the potential of unimaginable holocaust!
The spread of terrorism redefines war, disrupting social stability. How does a nation strike back when the enemy is not another nation but a formless group that blends into the population? These and other crises require solutions the present order cannot provide!
“The winds of despair are alas blowing from every direction and the strife that divideth and afflicteth the human race is daily increasing. The signs of convulsion and chaos can now be more clearly discerned inasmuch as the prevailing order appeareth to be lamentably defective.”
“America the Beautiful!” How long can we continue to press on with deliberate speed, sowing seeds of war, hate and destruction? With harvest time upon us, what will be our harvest?”
It’s time to lead by example and not by force!