Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
Without a vision the people perish.
-- Proverbs 29:18 KJV
We live in a time when the urgency of now has taken on new meaning for us all. The global issues are massive and many. For many of us, our personal lives are harried as never before. The people in our pews – as well as those who could potentially be there – are desperate for meaning, searching for solace, and longing for vision.
This morning, the Nobel Committee has given to this world a gift – a reminder that a different world is possible.
In awarding the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama , not only did the Committee emphasize “ his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” they “attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.” And they applauded Obama’s appeal, "Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges."
Not since the late 1970s and early 1980s has the importance of this possibility – a world free from nuclear weapons – risen to world attention. I would ask that you prayerfully consider engaging this issue with your church. There is no other issue in which concentrated power threatens all life on earth. Four books which I would lift up as foundational in developing and expressing my own thinking on this issue are:
Dale Aukerman Darkening Valley – A Biblical Perspective on Nuclear War Seabury 1981
Dale Aukerman Reckoning with Apocalypse – Terminal Politics and Christian Hope Crossroad 1993
Jonathan Schell The Fate of the Earth
Jonathan Schell The Gift of Time
As disciples of Christ, we are called to proclaim hope and offer vision:
- A vision of abundance in a world of scarcity.
- A vision of security in a world of fear.
- A vision of generosity in a world of greed.
- A vision of giving in a world of getting.
- A vision of sufficiency in a world where there’s never enough.
- A vision of justice in a world that writes off people as readily as it writes off bad debts.
Let us add to this a vision of a world free from nuclear weapons.
The Rev. Dr. Jim Antal,
Conference Minister and President
Jim Antal is a denominational leader, activist and public theologian. He led the 360 churches of the Massachusetts Conference United Church of Christ from 2006 to his retirement in 2018. An environmental activist from the first Earth Day in 1970, ...