First Baptist Church of Rahway, 177 Elm Ave., Rahway, New Jersey 07065 is a multi-cultural congregation that has a Blended English Service on Sunday Mornings, a Latino Service at 12:00, and a Service in Telugu at 3:30PM. For more information, call (732) 388-8626. Or click here to send an email. If you wish to help the Mission and Ministry of First Baptist financially click the Donate Button.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The World is Becoming a Better Place

red cross

I believe that our world is searching for the right way to live. And I believe that we are slowly getting closer to the right way of treating each other. It is just taking some time.

Back in fourteenth century France, things were pretty bad compared to today. English armies were invading every few years. After the battle ended, the English King would leave behind large numbers of soldiers, not wanting to pay for their return to England. These men became roving bands of outlaws, attacking villages and travelers. Between the wars and the outlaws, there was also the black plague, which was devastating the people of Europe. In those days, when a village needed help neighboring villages did not respond to their pleas. If they were attacked, their neighbors armed themselves and hoped they too would not be attacked. If the plague struck, doors were shut and locked. If hunger assailed people, there was no help coming from nearby towns or villages. There were plenty of instances of individual compassion and help. Many individuals put their lives on the line to help others. But no general organized effort existed to help neighbors in trouble. And the thought of helping strangers who lived far away, would not have even occurred to most people at this time.

Move to the nineteenth century. The historians call it the age of volunteerism, when most of the organizations that help victims were born. In 1863 a Swiss citizen, Jean Henri Dunant spoke out for the need of an international organization to help wounded prisoners of war with improved medical care. The Red Cross, Red Crescent, and articles of the Geneva Convention came out of his efforts. Before Jean Dunant people didn’t care about prisoners of war, wounded or otherwise. Armies also attacked hospitals as if they were active fighting units. The conditions in prisoner of war camps were horrendous. The average person of the day would not care about the deaths of enemy soldiers. And yet Jean Dunant did care. And not only that, he convinced other people to care, so many that even the governments took notice and supported his efforts.

The creation of the Red Cross and the many other organizations created in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are an amazing part of world history. No where else in our history can I find large numbers of people organizing to help others from around the world. Individual acts of mercy are common throughout history. But organizations that help strangers from other countries, which speak other languages, who have strange customs and who worship gods with different names, that is a new and marvelous thing! In the last several hundred years, the number of these groups has expanded a great deal. Many of the organizations are religious and many are not. Many of the groups help people, and some are out to help animals and the environment. Even countries are joining into this wonderful development. Not only does the United States’ defense department prepare to fight a war, they also prepare to launch peace missions. In light of our war ravaged history this has been truly amazing!

The world is evolving ideas of truth and justice that are being recognized as universal. Treating all humans with love and respect was a concept that only a few held a thousand years ago. But today, many more people hold to these principles. I believe that some day, all humans will hold the same basic principles of treating each other as we would our family. And so I believe that universal principles of behavior will continue to develop over time to guide future generations.

God Bless You,

Pastor Bill

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