IRAN - THE
[Taken from a transcript of a tape I made at my home on February 12.
1980. Later (March 25, 1980), I gave a copy of the tape to Akbar
Zadeh, one of the students I met during my visit to the American Embassy
in Tehran where the hostages were being held. He later said he
loved the tape and asked if I could give it to him, which I did. I
was seeking the release of the hostages - which did not happen then.
My visit did open up better communications between our countries
and did help in the later release of the hostages. Since then Iran
has participated with us at the United Nations Peace Bell Ceremony on
Earth Day -- which is their New Year. This is an un-edited copy of
what was on the tape.]
. . . . . . . . . I believe that the great Magna Charta of our Christian
faith is found in the Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5, 6, 7.)
And the basic foundation for that statement is found in the
Beatitudes. There is something extremely hopeful as we look at
We know today people are disillusioned. Everywhere I go I see
cynicism, hopelessness. "Yes, of course it's all wrong, but
there's nothing you can do."
The Beatitudes begin with "Blessed are the poor in spirit for
theirs is the kingdom of heaven." In the original that means,
"Blessed are the broken-hearted for theirs is the kingdom of
heaven." Today there are a lot of broken-hearted people.
Really, the whole world is broken-hearted. But it is
important to recognize that it's in that state where people are willing
to change, to see something new and different. These are the
people to whom Jesus says, "Theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
I believe there is great hope today as we bring to the attention of the
broken-hearted that they are the ones who can enter into the kingdom of
heaven. By the "kingdom of heaven" I mean the rule and
reign of divine love and wisdom. I mean by the kingdom of heaven a
healthy peaceful planet.
As we look at this little gem that is set in the vast blackness of
Space, we contemplate it and think of the marvelous planet we have
inherited. People living here right now are making the decision of
whether life on Earth shall survive, grow and blossom, or whether it
will die. We are the first generation that without any question
must take charge and take care of Earth.
Once we realize -- in our state of disillusionment, or sorrow, of being
broken-hearted -- that there is a chance, then there is hope.
Out of this can come the manifestation of a glorious and wonderful
kingdom for our whole planet.
Then, of course, we must go on. We must take the next step. Jesus
said, "Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.
" In the original this means, "Blessed are they who are
pressed to the Earth."
When you really go deep enough inside, you're going to feel a godly
sorrow, not to be repented of. It's going to bring about a desire
for a change.
That should be followed by the next step, "Blessed are the meek
(not the weak, but Blessed are the meek) for they shall inherit the
Earth." The beautiful thing about the Sermon on the Mount and
the Beatitudes, it's the only way I know to be truly humble. The
proudest people are those who are proud of their humility. There
has to be a process that brings about true humility. The process
is to recognize the Grace of God, to give up your life and let God
remake it, renew it, regenerate it. Out of this can come real,
true humility, because you realize that all the great things that are
done through you are not you doing it but its God working through you.
The other thing about this is, '...they shall inherit the Earth."
One of the great truths that has been neglected by the church and
the world at large is that this Earth is the inheritance of the human
family. The Psalms say, "The Earth hath He given to the
children of men."
Of course, there is a sense in which "The Earth is the Lord's and
the fullness thereof." But nevertheless, there is a sense in
which the human family -- those who assume their responsibilities --
they're caretakers and custodians of this planet. One of the most
important facts for us to get hold of is that we must be responsible
caretakers of Earth. This is our God-given task.
Earth is our inheritance. And when we say our inheritance
we mean the inheritance of every man, women and child on this planet.
It isn't the exclusive right of the few. It is the
inheritance of every person.
Every person should have an opportunity for a stake in this Earth: for a
piece of land, for the benefits of the soil, the trees and the bounty of
Earth. At the same time he should recognize his responsibility to
be a custodian, a caretaker -- to be a steward of this inheritance.
So Jesus said, "Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit
I would carry that just a tiny bit further. The more we learn
about biology and the biosphere, the more we realize how fragile is the
thin skin of life that circles our globe. We cannot go slap bang
into our new job -- build atomic plants, spread atomic waste. There
are so many things that we have done where we failed to approach our
task with a sense of wonder, care and cautiousness. If the
benefits we are seeking for ourselves and the human family are going to
be obtained without forever damaging the eco-systems -- the life giving
network that covers our globe, we are going to have to approach each new
phase of our responsibility with a great deal of care and caution.
I believe that for this purpose we need the illumination of the
mind of God in all that we do.
This brings me to the next step. And I would like to mention that
each one must be taken before the next one can follow. Jesus said,
"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after
Once you experience this poverty of spirit, this being broken-hearted
and pressed to the ground, and have experienced a real sense of
meekness, then, it's possible for you in a healthy manner to have your
appetite come back: You're going to hunger, you're going to
thirst. You're going to be a real seeker.
There are here and there, around the world, God-intoxicated people --
people who are intoxicated with the love of God and with the joy of
life; who, the first thing in the morning when they get up, they enter
into the presence of God with thanksgiving. They are so amazed at
the Grace of God, the wonder of life and the love that is found all
about us in other people, that it brings great ecstasy and joy. And,
in their search to know more, to understand more, there is a deep
heartfelt hunger. The hunger and the thirst is after
righteousness. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after
righteousness: after the right use of things, after that which reflects
the goodness the glory and the love of God.
As people experience this hunger it's a true hunger. There is a
superficial substitute which we think is desire. People think they
want this, they want that, they want other things. And then they
discover it isn't what they want at all. I guess one of the most
deceitful lies of Satan is the appetite for superficial things --
momentary pleasures, desire to make more money, to have more power, the
desire of lust. All of these superficial attractions are keeping
individuals away from discovering their true heart desire.
One of the great scriptures in the Bible is, "Whatsoever things you
desire, when you pray believe that you receive them and you shall have
them." The difficulty is, people don't understand what they
desire. You think you desire something, but when you go deep
enough inside your innermost being and discover your real desire, your
most sincere desire, then you can know that your desire will be granted.
It's impossible to understand your true desire without knowing
that desire will be met.
So Jesus said, "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after
righteousness for they shall be filled." Every
morning it's possible in your reflection, your feelings and your thought
to feast upon the truth of God -- found in the promises and commandments
of Jesus; to chew them, masticate them, think about them, meditate upon
them, relate them to your life experiences. As you do, the
innermost craving in your heart and spirit will be satisfied. "Blessed
are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be
Now it's from this experience that man is lead into the next stage of
development where Jesus says, "Blessed are the merciful."
Before this if you tried to be merciful you would be
self-righteous, you'd be condescending. We see a lot of pretense
of mercy. But when you appreciate the mercy of God and have the
awareness of the grace of God, then you can be truly merciful. And,
of course, this is followed by the statement, "...for they shall
If we really appreciate the significance of God's grace, of His
forgiveness, and of how much damage we have done in our lives -- of all
of the things that we have done out of selfishness with their
unpredictable evil toll and that God has canceled the debt -- we are so
grateful that we cannot condemn anyone else, regardless of what they do.
Then, "Blessed are the pure in Heart for they shall see God."
Pure in heart means a whole heart. Jesus in that same Sermon
on the Mount asks us to have our eye with single vision. We must
not be guilty of double vision.
A whole heart is a heart where your purpose and your thinking is devoted
to one thing, without anything pulling you aside. The guiding star
in your life is to seek the kingdom of God, and you strive to love God
with all your heart.
There is a scripture in the old testament that says, God is searching
all over the world "...to show His strength on behalf of him whose
heart is perfect toward Him." A Perfect heart; a heart of
love, an undivided heart, a whole heart, an honest heart is what God is
seeking. Jesus said that when you have reached the point where you
can be pure of heart -- and this is a continuing process...it isn't
something you achieve and then let it go. The impurities of the
world are constantly cluttering up and staining our heart and our
feelings and there must be a continual process of cleansing, that is
available through the grace of God -- the marvelous thing is, "The
pure or heart will see God."
There are things that are unreal in the world today to the majority of
people. We have a civilization where the majority of people are
blind. And Jesus talked about the blindness of people. They don't
see the most important things there are in life.
Think about Pearl Harbor: When that happened the world had
something visual that enabled people in a moment to have a great surge
of feeling. There was "Pearl Harbor" and then everyone,
or at least the majority of Americans, got behind the flag and made
all kinds of sacrifices. They were willing to leave their jobs,
leave their homes, give up their salary and go to work for a
pittance, risk their lives in order to save their country.
Today, we are in a situation far worse than Pearl Harbor. And it's
not just our nation -- it's the whole planet. But it is not real.
Pearl Harbor was real.
People are blind to the fact that we face today something far worse than
Pearl Harbor. Our great difficulty here is to see the reality that
is not obvious to the natural eye. The natural eye does not
understand the really important things.
The greatest benefit that can come to an individual is when with the
mind's eye he sees the realities of the spirit. "Blessed are
the pure in heart for they shall see God -- He becomes very real
to them. It's such a source of faith when you get up in the
morning and you feel that in your mind's eye -- you've caught a glimpse
I know in my own life I was trained in a strange way to be scientific.
I realize there are profound mysteries that go beyond what
we see in the physical world.
There are mysteries of the mind and spirit and feeling. Right now
we are so inter-connected globally -- both by electronic communications
and in our consciousness. We are one global organism in the world
of mind and thought. We're all connected with one another.
We're all connected with the guilt of the world. And we're
beginning to realize that more and more. We have no right to be
self-righteous and say we are the most moral nation in the world. Let's
look at the balance sheet for a moment.
If you look at the positive things...if you listen to Charles Kuralt
talking about the warm, wonderful things in America, it's great! We
are more independent in our thinking, more open, we have more political
freedom.. In the scientific and voluntary activities in the United
States in many ways we exceed what is done in all the rest of the world.
Let's look at the other side of the balance sheet. We have caused
more pollution than any nation in history. The air, the water are
poisoned by the acts of the people of the United States of America.
We speak with great self-righteousness in condemning Iman Khomeini
for holding 50 hostages and we are appalled at a nation that
assassinates 50 or 60 people -- which is terrible. I
do not mean to condone them for one moment. But in the day that
one nation executes 60 people, we kill a hundred by our drunken drivers.
And on television we don't show the mangled bodies, the crying
children and the weeping widows, we just treat this as a passing
Look at the billions of dollars that are made illegitimately by our
money brokers. One of the great tragedies in basing our whole
operation on greed and selfishness is that it becomes acceptable to
deprive other people of money without rendering any useful service.
When a man corners the silver market and makes a billion dollars,
a billion dollars has been removed from the pockets of hard working
people. he's rendered no useful service. In any court of the
moral law law it must be recognized that this is a kind of stealing.
So, we reward those who steal and through inflation we rob those who
work, and who render useful service. From Hiroshima to Love Canal this
country is guilty of some of the most awesome crimes in the history of
At the same time I want to come back and say that on the other side of
the ledger this nation has done tremendous things to cultivate a love of
freedom, democracy and many other things that have benefited the whole
But, I believe that if you put it on balance, like the writing on the
wall in the Old Testament, we are weighed in the balance and found
The reason for this is that we have forsaken the moral law. we do
not any longer think in terms of good and evil. In the Old
Testament a prophecy about Jesus stated, "Butter and honey
shall he eat that he may know to choose the good and refuse the
evil." Through the Old Testament butter and honey signified
the promises and commandments of God. So to that individual who
determines in his life to steer this difficult course, God promises His
presence, Grace and power.
"Enter into the strait [difficult] gate for strait is the gate and
narrow the way that leadeth to life and few there be that go therein.
Broad is the way that leadeth to destruction." We've
been following the broad way where there is no right or wrong. There
is no hero. There is no heroic epic. There are no great
roots in our souls. We've lost the guiding star.
Therefore, our society is permeated with corruption from top to bottom.
The redemption of society is now impossible --except for the Grace
of God. But the wonder of it is that Jesus said, "Blessed are
the broken hearted for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven."
The mysteries of the birth of Jesus, of who he was, are beyond the
province of science. Our knowledge of natural science and biology would
make the virgin birth seem impossible. But in dealing with the
great mysteries of mind that transcend matter, faith helps our search
for meaning. In scientific research the most beautiful hypothesis
always proves to be the right one.
In the drama of human history nothing is more beautiful than the
Christmas story. I am convinced that there was a man that lived
whose name was Jesus. Historically, there is overwhelming evidence
of that. I know that what he said and did and taught that was
recorded by his followers is so great, this man I would follow to the
ends of the Earth.--------
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