Written and read by Allan Hayes at our first Sunday Assembly Leicester on 9th March 2014.
TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND YEARS AGO, across the plains of Africa, over small wandering groups, the dawn of the era of shared minds began to glimmer.
We have come a long way together since then, sharing feelings and intellect, learning to care and to cooperate.
We tell stories and learn from our past, we imagine and think about our imaginings; we exchange ideas, create meaning and purpose – we create beauty.
In a few thousand years we have spread over all the world:
- We tamed animals and invented farming and agriculture.
- Created religions, made rules and laws.
- Began to live together in villages, then cities, countries and empires – and now the whole globe is our home.
- We invented writing, printing, telephones, radio, television, email, the internet.
- We have created art, poetry, music, theatre, science and medicine; made buildings, roads, railways, aircraft.
- We have gone to the moon.
WE CAN BE PROUD TO BE HUMAN BEINGS
BUT WE SHOULD BE DEEPLY CONCERNED
We still make weapons and fight wars – more efficiently; we can be cruel; people starve and are tortured; we still have a lot to learn about living together – WE ARE SPOILING THE EARTH and WE COULD DESTROY OURSELVES.
WE HAVE BROUGHT RESPONSIBILITY UPON OURSELVES – WE CANNOT AVOID IT
WE ARE AT A TIME OF DECISION:
Can this thinking imagining, feeling, communicating, creative, wonderful species be wise enough and compassionate enough to care for itself and for the earth? – We have the capability to destroy both.
WE must make good use of our DEEP HISTORY and our DEEPENING UNDERSTANDING of ourselves and of the world.
WE MUST COMBINE OLD WISDOM WITH NEW UNDERSTANDING.
And, in this richly diverse city of Leicester we have a unique opportunity to bring people from all backgrounds together in this endeavour.
WE CAN MAKE A NEW DAWN