My wife, Wanda, came home last Tuesday. After her operation and partial recovery, she was transferred from Wichita to the rehabilitation Ward at Hutchinson Regional Medical Center. I am learning that recovery from brain injury is a long slow process. Her case manager and therapists will continue to assist her recovery with visits to our home if they, and we, feel it is necessary.

My wife has received excellent care beginning with the emergency room in Hutchinson, the surgical ICU in Wichita and the rehabilitation ward in Hutchinson. I wish to thank all of those involved in her care and in my education about this very difficult process.

While I was visiting my wife in the hospital in the last two and a half weeks I would occasionally turn on the television and watch the news. There were two devastating hurricanes, there were reports of world leaders threatening war and then the shooting episode in Las Vegas, which was reported to be the deadliest shooting in recent history, killing 58 people and injuring more than 500. How is it possible to believe in a loving God and Witness such atrocities? Is there something good happening in the world which my cause us to have hope in the future of mankind?

I believe there is such an event. It is the bicentennial of the birth of the founder of the Baha'i faith. Baha'is believe He was the most recent in a series of divine Messengers, the founders of the major religions of the world, who have provided guidance from God from the beginning of human history. Is it possible that these disastrous events could be traced to actions of mankind in rebellion to the teachings of God? Is it possible that the frequency and severity of the hurricanes is related to global warming caused by our abuse of the planet? The actions of world leaders and their refusal to establish international organizations to deal with issues between countries? The actions of these leaders are clearly not in accordance with the tenants of any of the world's major religions.

How do we account for the actions of an apparently deranged man who is raised in a society that worships guns and violence? What role has religion played in the opposing violence and promoting peace? There are many who look upon religion has a major cause of world's problems. Some religions have fringe elements that have promoted violence, some of the deadliest kinds of violence and the killing of innocent people.

Some of these issues have been addressed in a letter from the Universal House of Justice.  Baha’is believe this institution speaks with the authority of God in our world today. The letter begins with a review of the story of religion throughout history and then explains the role of Baha'u'llah, "as the One Whose teachings will usher in that long-promised time when all humanity will live side by side in peace and unity."

The letter continues to tell about His life and the story of his sacrifice, of his rejection, which is the story of the founders of the world's religions who have been rejected by the power structure in place at the time of their revelation. The House of Justice explains "Within the words that flowed like a river from the pen of Baha'u' llah are gifts of enormous range and sublime character. Not infrequently, one who encounters His Revelation responds first to prayers of surpassing beauty that satisfy the soul's longing to befittingly worship its Maker. Deeper in the ocean of His words are discovered the laws and moral imperatives to liberate the human spirit from the tyranny of worldly instincts unworthy of its true calling."

“The society He envisions is one worthy of that nobility and founded on principles that guard and reinforce it. The oneness of the human family He places at the core of collective life; the equality of women and men He unequivocally asserts. He reconciles the seemingly counteracting forces of our own age-science and religion, unity and diversity, freedom and order, individual rights and social responsibilities. And among His greatest gifts is justice, manifested in institutions whose concern is for the progress and development of all peoples.”

“Attempts at social change through political intrigue, sedition, vilification of particular groups, or outright conflict are condemned by Baha'u' llah, for they merely perpetuate cycles of struggle while lasting solutions continue to elude. He champions instruments of a very different sort. He calls for good deeds, kind words, and upright conduct; He enjoins service to others and collaborative action. And to the task of constructing a world civilization founded on the divine teachings, He summons every member of the human race.”

“On this two hundredth anniversary of Baha' u' llah 's appearance, the many who are part of this enterprise are reaching out to those around them with a simple invitation: seize this opportunity to find out who He was and what He represents. Put to the test the remedy He has prescribed. His coming offers sure proof that the human race, threatened by numerous perils, has not been forgotten. When so many people of goodwill throughout the world have for so long beseeched God for an answer to the problems that beset them in their common homeland, is it so surprising that He should have answered their prayer?”

Phil Wood, a Baha'i, originally from New England, resided for 12 years in Barbados, 4 years in China, has lived 30 years in Hutchinson.