Furthering Peace

MONDAY'S historic agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization raises the questions: How do we move the momentum for peace from a sheet of paper into the hearts of individuals? How do we prevent hostility to the accord from derailing the process? News reports detailing the mix of cautious rejoicing and violent protest illustrate that peace must be worked at. How can our own hearts yearning for peace contribute to the process? What is the role of a peacemaker?

A peacemaker is usually thought of as one who reconciles differences between warring parties, bringing agreement to whatever discordant situation he encounters. In the context of Christianity, however, the demand for peacemaking begins in the thought of the individual, and this provides the basis for resolving conflict in the larger arena. It includes prayer, watchfulness, and spiritual progress, and requires that we discern the true nature of power.

We may despair of establishing peace when violence breaks out. Yet those are just the times when we most need to insist on the practical healing power of Christ, Truth, active in our and mankind's consciousness to bring peace.

The Bible not only assures us that we can be peacemakers but teaches us how to take an unconditional stand for our ability to handle stormy experiences with healing calmness. The book of Isaiah declares, referring to God, ``Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee (26:3). The mental discipline of keeping thought centered on God is the essence of true peacemaking, because right in the midst of turmoil it lifts thought to the Christly consciousness of God's powerful presence and enables us to demonstrate that presence. It enables us to prove that safety and peace are normal and natural, and the reality of being right now. Such peacemaking is initiated by a simple desire to be aware of God's nature.

As we work to understand God, we come to understand His image, man, as the very expression of the divine nature, reflecting the peace that emanates from the one infinite divine Mind. This understanding expands into a conviction of our dominion over discord, hatred, and vengeance. Peacemaking on this sure basis begins with faith and receptivity, progresses with prayer and practice, and finds its healing reward with persis-tence. This mental work illustrates the healing activity of Christ in individual consciousness, enabling each of us to fulfill the Christian demand to be peacemakers--first within our own lives and, as a result, in our prayers for humanity as a whole.

Our ability to demonstrate peace comes from our inseverable connection with God. An understanding of this relationship gives us the strength and wisdom to hold fast to divine power in the midst of storms, and to be victorious. The Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, tells us in her book The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, ``To live so as to keep human consciousness in constant relation with the divine, the spiritual, and the eternal, is to individualize infinite power; and this is Christian Science (p. 160).

The Science of Christianity lifts thought above darkness and discord into the calm light of spiritual awareness. It reveals God's law to be entirely good and dependable. It engages us in the struggle to be spiritually-minded, thus satisfying the great human desire for peace and safety.

In Washington, D.C., world leaders spoke of the need to do the work that actually establishes peace. Science takes us beyond simply yearning for peace, to the active, diligent willingness to discern spiritual ideas, which heal. It enables us to resist being drawn by circumstances into a whirlpool of fear and stress. It encourages us to insist, through prayer, on spiritual harmony where there seems to be conflict and on unity with the healing love of God where distress seems aggressive. It inspires courage where discouragement would suggest defeat. This Christly peacemaking does not vacillate between love for God and the worries of mortality, but steadily rises to the sense of eternal, harmonious being, and helps bring this to light.

Peacemaking that begins with individual comprehension of God has a permanency to it that is much more than a precarious lull between storms. It enables us to feel the joy and dominion that can only come from God and that are indestructible. This spiritual peace is available to anyone willing to lift thought above turmoil to the prayerful apprehension of God and His Christ. Then the waves of fear subside, and we discover that healing calm which fulfills the promise of Christ Jesus recorded in the Gospel of John ``Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you (14:27). BIBLE VERSE

They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears

into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation,

neither shall they learn war any more.

Isaiah 2:4

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