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Encouraging Word: A more idyllic place

Howard Coop

Religion columnist

The Hegira hills of my childhood were pleasant. In that community of friendly neighbors, my young friends and I roamed those hills day after day, and with a feeling of safety, we played in them to our hearts’ content.

About 1913, several years before my time, C. F. G. Masterman, who worked closely with David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill in designing social programs, is often quoted as saying that “the world is becoming a safe playing ground for children.” But that peaceful serenity was interrupted one year later by the beginning of World War I, and our world has not known real peace since that time, for somewhere in the world, one conflict has followed another. 

There was World War II, the Korean conflict, Vietnam and one disturbance after another in the Middle East. Instead of a “safe playing ground for children,” our world has become, and has been for a long time, the place of conflict.

Who remembers April 2, 1965? There was a lot of publicity about an event that happened in Los Angeles that day. After a high-speed chase, the police stopped Rodney King. When the struggle was over and an arrest was made, King was quoted as saying, “Can’t we all just get along?” That, most folk agree, would be an ideal situation, but we do not live in an ideal world.

Long ago in an idyllic place known as the Garden of Eden, there was a struggle, maybe because of a misunderstanding about the relationship between two brothers, and the older brother, in a fit of rage, killed the younger brother. When confronted with the crime, Cain tried to shrug it off by saying, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

The true answer is: “No, you are not your brother’s keeper, but you are your brother’s brother, and you are responsible for recognizing that relationship and living with your brother.”

The world, known for conflict, would be a more idyllic place if we recognized the brotherhood of man and began to live together as brothers.