A RECENT Monitor article showed clearly that peace has many facets and is obtained by degrees. The article asked, "As war winds down, will Iraq's progress hold steady?" (Jan. 8). It pointed out, "Violence has plummeted and US forces are pulling back, but the year ahead will test the staying power of gains throughout the country."
Obviously peace is not just a cessation of violence, in Iraq and elsewhere, but is something far more stable and lasting. It has life-changing power and is, in essence, spiritual.
To those who yearn for such righteous peace, these words from the Bible offer a way to work for peace among nations: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace" (Luke 2:14). Some translations continue that statement to read "good will toward men" and others "to men of goodwill." In either translation, however, the message is the same. It promises us that we find peace on earth as we glorify God.
God is the source of all genuine peace, and in exalting this divine Love in our hearts and prayers, we bear witness to the promise of God's peace on earth. Glorifying God is far different from honoring our own desires at the expense of another, or even trying to swallow hard and give others what they want just because this would seem to bring peace. Rather, this spiritual approach is realizing that the divine Love that creates peace in our hearts is both impartial and universal. It is honoring God with our trust and obedience.
A woman who yearned for peace in the world and who was deeply troubled by news of wars between nations found great peace in adopting the message in the Bible verse quoted above. Glorifying God became a way for her to promote peace on earth right where she was – and it will do that for any one of us.
As we glorify or greatly praise God in our hearts, peace is there, and we are open to steps we might take to further peace in the world. Most of us are not in a position to draw up peace treaties, but we can rid our own hearts of prejudices and idle preferences for one nation or people over another.
The founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, who also founded the Christian Science Church, once asked its members to pray for peace regarding a particular situation in the world. A short time later, she asked them to cease in this specific prayer. When questioned about the second request, she published a short article titled "An Explanation." In it, she wrote: "In no way nor manner did I request my church to cease praying for the peace of nations .… I cited, as our present need, faith in God's disposal of events…. On this basis the brotherhood of all peoples is established; namely, one God, one Mind, and 'Love thy neighbor as thyself,' …" ("The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," pp. 280-281).
As we pray for peace, we must be willing to "trust in God's disposal of events" and not let personal feelings guide our prayers, whether we are praying about personal issues or about the larger global conditions. "Desire is prayer;" wrote Mrs. Eddy in her major work, "and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 1).
Trusting God not only to answer our prayers but also to mold and form them doesn't mean that we ignore world events. Rather, letting God shape our prayers lifts them above fear and doubt, and possibly misguided wishes, to willingness to accept divine Truth's government.
This newspaper and other reliable news sources inform readers of daily occurrences that need prayer. As people keep informed and pray about daily events, they often find evidence of God's "disposal" of those events. Prayer that acknowledges and honors the one God have an important role in making the promise of peace on earth come true.
Nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. Isaiah 2:4