Monday, September 20, 2010

A Million Minutes for Peace

Odyssey Networks is inviting people from all over the world to stop at noon tomorrow, September 21, and pray for peace for one minute. This coincides with the U.N. International Day of Peace and the WCC-sponsored International Day of Prayer for Peace (IDPP). (Odyssey Networks is the nation’s largest multi-faith coalition dedicated to promoting tolerance, peace, and social justice through the production and distribution of media.)
In 2001, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring September 21 of each year as the International Day of Peace. The intention of the resolution is to have the entire world observe a day of peace and nonviolence.
Most of us have probably not been aware of the significance of 9/21 and have done little to observe it as a time of prayer for peace. I don’t know how much good it has done through the years—but surely it has done more good than harm. And it would, no doubt, do more good if more of us were aware of it and would do something because of the IDPP.
So, please join me and many others for a minute at noon tomorrow to pray for world peace. [A brief report on the million minutes campaign can be found here.]
There are thirteen “lead partners” in the “a million minutes for peace” campaign. One is the World Peace Prayer Society (WPPS), whose slogan is “May Peace Prevail on Earth.” That slogan, coined by Masahisa Goi, a Japanese spiritual leader, appears at the bottom of the home page on the link I gave above.
There is also a link on that webpage to the Peace Pole, which has those same words inscribed on it. The first Peace Poles outside Japan were constructed in 1983. Since then, more than 100,000 have been placed around the world in over 180 countries.
While the WPPS is a non-sectarian organization, Goi (1916-1980) was the founder not only of the World Peace Prayer Society but also of a Shinto-related “new religion” in Japan, the Byakkō Shinkō Kai (White Light Association). (You can find out more about it at this link.)
Even though we may have different religious beliefs than many who join in the million minutes for peace tomorrow, still to join others to pray for peace is surely a good thing to do. And while we may have a significantly different theological stance than Masahisa Goi, shouldn’t we join others around the world in his simple prayer, "May Peace Prevail on Earth"?


  1. Salaama, Selam, Shalom

  2. I have been busy the last couple of weeks due to my wife's part in a production of Thornton Wilder's Our Town. Which is ironic, because I have been too busy to get here and say that praying for peace on earth is very much in line with the message of Thornton Wilder in this play.

    The last act of Our Town is set in the cemetery. As we look "back" at life on earth, Wilder shows us a terrifying splendor that only a few of the poets and prophets can see. We the living are blind to the glory around us. We are too busy, too distracted, to see. Yet the light from a flickering star may have spent millions of years coming, available at that very moment to be seen.

    Whether Francis, The Peace Pole Project, or Wilder lights our way, we know we must pray for peace, we must find peace, we must be peace. "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me."