"No matter what blunders your fellow men make in their world management of today, in an age to come the gospel which I declare to you will rule this very world." (143:1.4)
At the 2015 Parliament of World Religions in Salt Lake City there was shared the story of a Russian officer who was given a message that might have set off a nuclear war between Russia and the West in the Fall of 1983. He shared that he heard a voice that clearly directed him not to pass the message along to those who might have initiated such a conflagration. He also shared that he did not know what would get him into more trouble with his superiors, not passing the message along or hearing voices. That story has been documented with actor Kevin Costner, The Man Who Saved Civilization.
On the night of September 26 1983, Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov was on duty at Serpukhov-15, a top secret command station in dense forests south of Moscow. His job was to analyze satellite data that would detect a pre-emptive nuclear first strike from the USA – a prospect that in Soviet minds at least, was not unrealistic at that time.
Just three weeks before, the Russians had shot down a Korean jet liner with 269 passengers on board, including a US Congressman and 60 other Americans, after wrongly suspecting it of being a spy plane. The incident pushed East-West tensions to their highest since the Cuban missile crisis, and prompted Ronald Reagan's infamous remark that the Soviet Union was an "evil empire."
So when, at 12:15 am, the bright red warning lights started flashing and a loud klaxon horn began wailing, indicating a missile from West Coast USA, Petrov and his colleagues feared the very, very worst. "I saw, that a missile had been fired, aimed at us," he recalls. "It was an adrenalin shock. I will never forget it."
Could it be a false alarm? Petrov asked his colleagues manning the satellite telescopes for "visual confirmation." But with the atmosphere cloudy, it was impossible to say. And besides, the computer said no. As the monitor in front of him showed first one, then two, and then eventually five apparent missile blips, he was forced to make a decision.
Either America was starting World War III, in which case Russia had to respond immediately and overwhelmingly, effectively wiping out the world. Or he could tell his superiors that the mighty Soviet Union's early warning system was malfunctioning, and hope like hell that he was right. With the blips on the screen getting ever nearer to Soviet soil, he had 15 minutes to make his mind up. Seldom had the fate of the world hung more in the hands of one man.
Can you imagine the scene? Can you imagine an angel or some divine personality, whispering quite clearly into his ear: "do not relay this information?"
The World has found itself in similar situations a few times, the Cuban missile crisis in the 1962, a technical malfunction in Omaha, Nebraska in 1979, and there have been other such events.
The night before the third debate between the Presidential candidates last Fall, I made the mistake of telling my class that we would meet, not knowing that all other classes had been dismissed that evening. The rest of the building was empty. So, instead of class I told my students that we would talk about "other things." I asked: "How many of you trust our economic institutions?" Not one student raised their hand. I asked: "How many of you trust our political institutions?" Not one student raised their hand. I asked: "How many of you trust our religious institutions?" Not one student raised their hand.
We have made a mess of things. It may indeed get messier. Humans have an enormous capacity to make a mess. We have lost our way, at all levels.
In the midst of such messiness, we retain the capacity to commune with divine reality, to know that the divine rules our hearts, that the divine rules all the kingdoms of men and women, and all creatures.
In the midst of all the messiness, why should we not commune with divine reality? To know that the divine does rule, not only in our hearts, but also this very world. Why should we not?
We learn from Jesus's life that:
"He well knew that each age must evolve its own remedies for existing troubles. And if Jesus were on earth today, living his life in the flesh, he would be a great disappointment to the majority of good men and women for the simple reason that he would not take sides in present-day political, social, or economic disputes. He would remain grandly aloof while teaching you how to perfect your inner spiritual life so as to render you manyfold more competent to attack the solution of your purely human problems.
"Jesus would make all men Godlike and then stand by sympathetically while these sons of God solve their own political, social, and economic problems." (140:8.17,18)
We are each called upon to enable character growth, the expansion of wisdom and compassion within our soul in accord with our willingness to consent to the Father's will, present in our conscious awareness in this moment, now. All it takes is your consent. Do we take seriously the urgency of the present moment? Do we dare to commune with the Eternal Presence of Infinite Love? If you truly care about the issues of this world, I invite you to join me in such communion. Won't you join me?