FEBRUARY 6, 1958
MIAMI BEACH. Fla.—In the South you are apt to see along the highways many reminders of a religious nature. I have always wondered whether the South was really more interested in religion or the weather. Because the South, especially in the warm areas, is a refuge for people who are growing older, those who sponsor these signs think of them as particularly appropriate to the population of this part of the country.
In any case, my visit here coincides with a reminder which has come from the United Church Women. They tell me that on Friday, February 21, the 72nd observance of the World Day of Prayer will take place. This is the first Friday in Lent and Christians all over the world will unite in prayer for a better world and in thanksgiving for our Christian heritage.
Each year a new group in a new part of the world provides the service, and this year it has come from a group of women in Australia. They have chosen two prayers used by the aborigines Christians. The first is:
"Most High Father God, may Your love go into all parts of the earth, and may the people of all nations learn to know your great truths and goodness through Jesus Christ, and so be able to teach their children that only through Him can the peoples of the world have true happiness and lasting peace."
The second one is:
"You know, O God, that a very small leaf on the ground can mean that big roots are underneath, so we pray that even a little light from You touching the heart will mean that men and women will know of a very great love coming from You for them. We pray that this light and love will grow everywhere until everyone will have heard the story of Your way."
These are the prayers for the peoples of the whole world which come from the Australian bush where more than 60,000 aborigines live.
The theme of this World Day of Prayer is "The Bread of Life," and this is the day when throughout the world many peoples will repeat the prophecy of Isaiah: "He shall judge between nations, He shall decide from many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
Perhaps the time has come when this prophecy shall come to mean something real to the peoples of the earth who are now capable of self-destruction and, therefore, need inspiration and intelligence to keep them from committing suicide. Regardless of their religion, people throughout the world are thinking along the same lines.
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Not long ago in New York City I attended the opening of a cultural center which is to be presided over by a Miss L. Bastien, who has come over from India in the hope of creating greater understanding between her nation and ours.
She hopes to have exhibitions at 50 Central Park West and to have lectures and classes and encourage the study of the nature of man which should bring us all to a better understanding of ourselves and of our neighbors.
A number of Indians attended this opening, led by Arthur S. Lall, the Indian representative to the United Nations, and a number of Americans came to show their hope for closer ties between our countries.