Dag Hammarskjold was the second ever Secretary General of the United Nations and served from 1953-1961. Hammarskjold died in a plane crash in 1961, and that same year was posthumously awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. Throughout his life he kept a journal which was published after his death under the title, “Markings.”
Sometime in 1954 Hammarskjold wrote a warning in his journal. to the effect that, “Every virtue, every raw material which God gives us for our achievement can also become the keys to the Gates of Hell. Page 101.
It’s not unusual to hear people complaining about the present and longing for the “good ol’ days.” The complaints are about almost anything that requires new knowledge, different skills, or uncertainty.
Recently a friend of mine said something like “remember polio?” He was comparing that scourge to the current pandemic. During the early 50’s approximately 35,000 people a year became infected with polio. Our nation was terrified by the prospects of paralysis and being confined to an iron lung.
On May 5 Mitch McConnell told reporters that he was, “One-hundred percent [focused] on stopping this new administration.”
It was an interesting line in the sand that he was drawing, not based on any principle or vision other than just putting his party back in power in Congress. It is a stunning assertion and effectively stops any possibility of inter-party dialogue or decision making for the good of the country.
6 So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”
7 He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Easter 2021, in the Christian calendar, is now history. Some, confusing Easter with bunnies and eggs, put away the seasonal decorations as if this were Halloween or Father’s Day.
13 For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation.
31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
Yesterday a friend of mine told me about “One-way Missionaries.” In the early 1900s there was a group of missionaries who, when they were about to embark on a mission to a foreign land, would not pack a suitcase as most people would. Instead, they took a coffin which they packed with their belongings, along with a one-way ticket. By so doing, they demonstrated their intention to die sooner or later in the new land they were adopting.
I notice that a fairly high percentage of people don’t seem to know how to nourish a conversation. By “nourish” I mean using skills that encourage and foster deeper, longer, more interesting exchanges between people. This skill is useful and leads to better interviews, smoother working relationships with others, and long-term friendships with people that will surprise one.
I became aware of this when I used to belong to a business networking organization. One of our tasks in the group was to schedule a “dance card” with each of our chapter associates. A dance card was simply a coffee appointment or maybe even lunch, and during that hour we were to find out how we could assist each other in business connections.
In 1922, at the University of Toronto, scientists went to a hospital ward with children who were comatose and dying from diabetic keto-acidosis. Imagine a room full of parents sitting at the bedside waiting for the inevitable death of their child.
On that day in 1921, Dr. Frederick Banting and his medical student, Charles Best, went from bed to bed and injected the dying children with their new purified extract – insulin. As they began to inject the last comatose child, the first child injected began to awaken. One by one, all of the children awoke from their diabetic comas. A room of death and gloom, became a place of joy and hope.