Early this morning (on the way out to the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir on Gipsy Lane to meet up with the Year 5 pupils from Sandfield Close Primary) I pop into BBC Radio Leicester to record a Thought for the Day with John Florance.
When we met at Cathedral AM last Wednesday, John asked if I would do one of these 90-second spots this week. He told me then that he could trust me to pick my own subject. I asked him which hat he wanted me to wear for this: speaking as a local Bahá'í or as an employee of Leicester Council of Faiths. He said that I'd have been on for the Council of Faiths often recently (which is true) so he asked me to make it on from a Bahá'í perspective. So here it is:
Shortly, the G8 summit takes place in Northern Ireland. Leaders of the world’s wealthiest nations will meet to discuss ways to restore strong and sustainable growth to the world economy and mull over how to address the most pressing issues of the day.
The summit takes place under the presidency of the UK. But is it right that we should be concerned with social and economic problems in other countries when there is so much to be fixed here at home?
Bahá'ís would say that it is not only right, but necessary. Indeed it’s a moral and political obligation of the strongest nations to lend a hand to those struggling even more than we are right now.
These increasingly common and frequent summits and conferences represent unsteady, faltering steps toward the realisation of a truth stated by Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith, more than a hundred and fifty years ago. Bahá'u'lláh said then that, “The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.” This memorable phrase is the foundation of what Bahá'ís believe and the inspiration behind how we work for positive change around the world.
If this Bahá'í could offer a word of advice to the great and the good gathered at the G8 summit next weekend, it would be this quotation from the writings of Bahá'u'lláh: “Let your vision be world-embracing, rather than confined to your own self.” If such an attitude informed their discussions, then we might see effective action that brings about genuine change for everyone in our world.It sounds a bit flat on the first take, so John asks me to read it again, just to vary the tone and put a bit of bounce in it. I don't feel much bounce in myself this morning (probably because I was still up writing this in the wee small hours), but give it another go; it comes out much better the second time.
I arrived at Radio Leicester this morning at the same time as Martin Gage from Christian Aid, who is leading the regional arm of the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign. He's here to record his own Thought for the Day, for broadcast later this week, about the Hunger Summit that precedes the meeting of the G8. Martin is sitting in the small studio with John and me while we record my piece. He offers a helpful comment that would certainly improve it, so I rerecord a couple of sentences, incorporating Martin's suggestion.
After I've done and John is showing me out of the building, I suggest that my son Harry come in and record a Thought for the Day, to be broadcast toward the end of next week, just before the release of Man of Steel. John is a fellow comics fan, so I don't have to work too hard to persuade him.