The peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that began on Sept. 2 started with hopeful prospects. The early picture was encouraging, with the United States pledging to bring about an accord between the two sides within a year, and with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas signaling their willingness. And there is still cause for hope. But recent events have put the talks on shaky ground. They need our prayers.
What is there to do when all the best human efforts, wisdom, and resources have been brought to bear on a situation and are found to be wanting? What can help is to specifically address various aspects of the problem in prayer. You and I – and everyone, really – can play an important role in that endeavor.
A first step we might take is to consider the model for peace that seems to be posing difficulties. Both sides are in conflict over a relatively small amount of territory. To lose it, some feel, would be to lose their identity. Within this model, which is essentially material, conflict, not peace, is the norm. Inherent in it are limitation and competition for finite land and resources. And peacemaking therein is a tenuous proposal, hammered out or even coerced, against forces resisting it.
But there is a model where all parties can meet and find peace. It’s the spiritual model drawn in the first chapter of the Bible, the model of God’s children as created by Spirit in the image and likeness of the one Mind, God.
In this view, the identity, substance, and security of every individual, every family, and every nation are wholly spiritual and guaranteed by God, infinite Mind. Notwithstanding appearances to the contrary, Christian Science declares this to be the scientific fact, the spiritual truth. And prayer that faithfully holds this model in thought can help bring this truth to bear on conflicts around the world, including the Middle East.
Rather than thinking of land or people as finite, divided, and circumscribed, and trying to find ways to harmonize them, we can begin with the idea of one Mind, one infinite Principle embracing all creation, without exception. We can affirm that all humanity has one origin, one intelligent source, one God. And we can know that no situation is outside the influence of omnipotent Love.
When we view peace talks through this lens, the political factions putting up barriers to success don’t seem so powerful, nor the obstacles so insurmountable. Everyone involved is actually God’s spiritual image and likeness, responsive to the divine Mind’s wisdom, direction, and love.
Mary Baker Eddy wrote in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” that “the cement of a higher humanity will unite all interests in the one divinity” (p. 571). This statement brings out how God has already united all of us in His oneness. The spiritual influence of our prayers brings that unity to human view, leading the parties involved to fulfill God’s plan.
It’s important to realize, too, that peace is more than just a group of human beings agreeing to certain compromises in order to minimize damage to their own side or to the human race. Peace is the will of God – actually a law of God. It’s an imperative fact of His spiritual creation. It is our spiritually natural state. It glorifies God’s infinite, impartial love for all and His supreme, harmonious government of His creation.
The peace talks in the Middle East are supported by that divine law. God is on the scene – present with those at the bargaining table and with each of their constituents. He is with every player in this situation, impelling a desire for peace, and communicating intelligent and creative ideas needed for solutions. The Bible describes God as saying, “I know the thoughts that I think toward you ... thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jer. 29:11). And Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “The intercommunication is always from God to His idea, man” (Science and Health, p. 284). Nothing can block the communication from God to His child, from Mind to its idea. Mind knows no impasse – only infinite intelligence and blessing.