Unworldliness and peace
A GROWING chorus of voices around the world speaks of peace--asking for it, virtually pleading for it. But not many people are asking if peace is really desirable. It's an important question, because the answer is ``Not necessarily.'' After all, it was Christ Jesus himself who thrust upon mankind such statements as, ``Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword,''1 and ``Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division.''2 And yet with profound authority and compassion this same man insisted, ``Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.''3 No, Jesus didn't come to give us a worldly kind of peace. In fact, the presence of the saving, regenerating Christ-power actually stirs up the worldliness that continually tries to settle into human thought and action. The world's kind of peace has been tried again and again. It has always proved to be short-lived. Surely the time is approaching for humanity's wakening to the kind of peace that will last.
A worldly approach is the sort of peace that is based merely on how people are thinking and acting toward each other. The peace Christ brings is based on how we are thinking and acting toward God. Noble as our motives may be, as long as we seek peace from a worldly premise there will always be disruptions--some minor, some major, some potentially catastrophic.
The ``unworldly'' view of peace is not irrelevant to the question of how people act toward each other. Actually, such a view starts from the only possible premise that ultimately will lead to authentic harmony among people. When we try to paste the peace that the ``world giveth'' over mankind, cracks inevitably will appear. Peace cannot be imposed on human consciousness. It must begin within consciousness, within an awakening sense of man's relationship to God. This is why Jesus could be so sure that the kind of peace he was giving would, in the long run, prevail over conflict.
Peace is not so much a thing that happens between people as it is a quality of God that takes form in human hearts, and then is felt and expressed in daily lives. Every kind of worldliness will continue to be stirred up by the Christ until we individually begin feeling this peace that is ``unworldly.'' Perhaps spirituality is the term that best describes what unworldliness means. Spirituality is the consciousness of God's presence, His goodness and supremacy. Spirituality is the moment-by-moment living of the purity and love, the integrity and intelligence, that come from God.
How do we pursue this peace Jesus spoke of? He left us this peace. He gave it to us. Some gifts are simply irresistible. Those who have discovered the power of prayer can pray that mankind will feel the irresistible presence of the Christ and its gift of peace. Ultimately no one can ignore what the Christ has given to him. Especially when there are those around the world praying with strong, inspired acknowledgments that this gift is present, powerful, undeniable. Only as real peace--inspired and encouraged by the power of Christ--begins to emerge in individual consciousness can practical solutions become viable on a lasting basis. Spirituality serves as fertile ground for thoughtful, intelligent proposals to take root on the human scene. Without this rich soil of unworldliness, even the most promising ideas for spreading goodwill in the world begin to wilt. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, commented on what truly nourishes the heart and brings permanent results: ``Only what feeds and fills the sentiment with unworldliness, can give peace and good will towards men.''4
Mankind is so malnourished with materialism. Now is such a natural moment --a crucial moment--to help feed thought with the kind of unworldliness, the Christly spirituality, that truly satisfies. And with this satisfaction comes deep and lasting receptivity for taking the orderly steps that will enable people to get along.
1Matthew 10:34. 2Luke 12:51. 3John 14:27. 4Pulpit and Press, pp. 21-22. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2