Last night, an assembly of global citizens from over 40 countries converged on the Atlanta Marquis imperial ballroom embracing and celebrating the vision of the Global Peace Foundation; “One Family Under God,” during the Global Peace Convention Banquet. For four years, the Global Peace Foundation has brought awareness to the world that humanity’s kinship extends beyond the domiciles of our neighborhoods.
The invocation presented by Bishop Carter refers to what the possibility of world peace would look like when differences in our nationalities, ethnicities and religious affiliations are longer determines of our worth; “a glimpse of heaven.” Opportunity always exists to embrace this glimpse of heaven or what theologian Walter Rauschenbusch refers to in his Social Gospel Movement as the “Kingdom of Heaven.”
It is only fitting that Atlanta, the cradle of the civil rights movement and home of the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., serves as this year’s backdrop in our journey to seek this glimpse of heaven. However, our journey towards world peace is more than an altruistic act of benevolence, but an obligation.
During the banquet, Senator Emmanuel Jones reminded us that “peace in the world is our responsibility.” As a matter fact, Rev. Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr. went further to point out the divine nature of this obligation in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” We may know peace in the world is our divine responsibility; however, we must also have the capacity to understand and identify the challenges to world peace.
In addition to the physical violence associated with war and religious sectarianism, societal ills such as poverty are just as devastating to the dignity of our humanity; for an environment where an institution or culture that encumbers human dignity is void of peace. So once we are able recognize our divine obligation to world peace as well as identify the challenges to it; how can we as a world live as “One Family Under God?”
The simple fact the Global Peace Foundation exists as well as hosts an annual peace convention tells us what we as world should do; change!
The Points of Light representative during the banquet pointed out that change begins when we place ourselves and others in a position of change by making the challenges to peace of others our own. Making the problems of others our own will enable us to better understand one another in order to establish sincere common ground.
The Points of Light, You Belong Initiative has done this by making the societal ills of poverty, genocide and political tyranny of twenty-two nations their own in providing comfort to their distress. Finally, in addition to change in making and recognizing the problems of our global neighbors as our own, a fundamental change in our thinking is needed.
Rev. Bernice King stated “a radical revolution of values to become a person centered society rather than an object center society is in order for our world to be truly One Family Under God.” I wonder if Rev. King would classify the value determines of nationality, ethnicity and religious differences as object centered since often times these differences blind our ability to recognize the human dignity of others as our brother, sister, neighbor.
This radical revolution in values according to King commences with an awakening. Our awakening lies in our spirituality which is the origin of our own existence and the world. All of us have equal stake in God’s family. Being “One Family Under God” is not a creation of humanity, but it is a universal and everlasting truth that transcends space and time for as children of God, we are all family.
Written by: Vernon Frazier, J.D., M.T.S.