When is it appropriate to take steps on behalf of peace? When is it appropriate to show support for peace? What about during a war?
Here is a report of some events that took place at Green Acre Baha’i School in Elliot, Maine during the First World War to illustrate answers to there questions. They occurred after Sarah Farmer had passed on and Henry Randall was the school administrator. It was reported in Green Acre on the Piscataqua (Baha’i Publishing Trust, 2005, pages 67-68).
According to Juliet Thompson “Randall felt that it was not appropriate for Green Acre to raise its peace flag during the First World War. Juliet, May Maxwell, Albert Vail, and Henry had a ‘stormy’ luncheon discussion on the subject, the women feeling that the flag should be flown. That afternoon Albert emerged from his room and summoned the other three. Henry appeared looking a little ‘dazed.’ Juliet recalled:
“[Albert said,] ‘I was lying down, when a power seemed to rush across the sea as a Presence permeated my room, which brought me to my feet. “May and Juliet are right,” a voice said, “And if the believers had faith the size of a mustard seed the Cause [could] overturn this whole mountain of war into the sea.’
“’I have had a vision too,’ Harry said. ‘I realized that I had been looking at the war with the eyes of the mind—but if should look at it in the eyes of the heart I could not endure it for one instant. Now that I have at last seen this, raise your peace flag! We will do more. Every day we will pray in the pines for the cessation of this war…. We will overturn this mountain of war into the sea.’
“Juliet comments: ‘Those meetings in the Pines I shall never forget. A terrific power was generated from them.’”
Did their efforts end the war? Juliet felt that Abdul-Baha thought that they did, although this is unauthenticated. Even if this dedicated band and their prayers contributed only one iota to the end of World War I, they were working to their highest level of understanding, their efforts were worthwhile and our world is better as a result. Shouldn’t we be doing the same today?