Bahai News -- New Britain Herald - Sermons will stress peace this holiday

Sermons will stress peace this holiday

December 25, 2002

By MARGARET WOZNIACKI

Staff Writer

PLAINVILLE -- This year, while the United States prepares for war in Iraq, Plainville church-goers will find their priests and pastors linking the Christmas spirit to the value of peace, and addressing the importance of reconciliation in the local community and worldwide.

For the Rev. Christopher Horvath, of the Congregational Church of Plainville, the figure of Christ is invariably connected with peace and forgiveness. Horvath will be preaching his Christmas sermon, entitled "When God makes the impossible possible," on the miracle of Christ’s birth as connected to people’s personal lives and to the situation of the world at large.

"As we believe in the Christmas miracle, we find that we can do much more in our lives to love, forgive, and make peace," Horvath said. "Welcoming Christ means welcoming peace and sharing it with everyone so it spreads. My sermon will speak to the fact that we must find an answer to solve our country’s problem without resolving to the menace of war."

Horvath is not the only one preaching a message of peace in town.

The Rev. Michael Ardrey of the First Freedom Methodist Church of Plainville has been delivering a series of Advent sermons on spiritual growth and the meaning of God’s light in the world.

"In my sermon I will emphasize the fact that the birth of Christ was a spiritual reality," he said. "Christ brought the gift of light, which represents love, healing,and peace. The problem is that some men love darkness more than light. But the choice is yours. It’s possible to call on that light for yourself personally. That light can have a tremendous impact on a person’s life. People changed Jesus into Christmas presents, but it’s not what it’s supposed to be."

According to Ardrey, world peace starts with healthy interpersonal relations, which are possible when people call on God’s light. Ardrey reported that his congregation is practicing a technique, which involves extending the peace practiced at home to peace in the world at large.

"Human relations need to involve an attitude of forgiveness," Ardrey said. "Being in the Christmas spirit means that we don’t get as angry. It’s healing, it helps to erase barriers such as race, ethnicity, sex, social and financial status. Peace is the quality we need among ourselves. It’s an extra important quality in these days of nonsensical war. Those who call on God’s light help to bring peace and an end to war."

A similar message, which stresses the importance of peace and diversity, is being preached at the meetings of the Baha’I organization, which meets weekly at the Plainville Wheeler YMCA.The Baha’I are an international religious group with no priests or clergy. The Plainville group, which unites 60 members from area town, comes together to study the scriptures left by prophet Baha’u’llah (an Arabic word meaning "the glory of God"). Currently the Baha’I study group is comparing their scriptures with the Bible, in order to find important similarities. Most individual members will join their Christian families in celebrating the spirit of Christ.

"We believe in one God and in human unity in diversity," said Baha’I member and secretary Norene Robinson. "In other words, we believe in the oneness of the human race. We stress the spirit of peace. The earth is but one country, and mankind is its citizens, our scriptures say. We have no prejudice against anyone, and world peace is very important to us. We need to raise our consciousness above the different labels that people assume. I call myself American, but when the world was created, there were no separations. When you look at it that way, all barriers to peace are removed."

Margaret Wozniacki may be reached at mwozniacki@newbritainherald.com, or by calling (860) 225-4601 ext. 227.

©Copyright 2002, New Britain Herald (CT, USA)

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