Two cries are being heard in our world today. One is loud, rightfully so. It is the cry to stop the killing - wherever it is happening; to stop manufacturing the weapons that do the killing; to make strategic arms negotiations effective, and fast.
The other cry, perhaps of lower decibels, is for simpler relationships; for childlike freedom and openness; for, as the movie E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial put it, being allowed to grow up together. It is a plea for a spiritual innocency that will endure the shock of encountering the world.
The two cries are related. Maybe they are only differing levels of the same lament. Certainly their answer has a common dimension - the need to grow spiritually, to turn from unworthy values and merely mortal conclusions. The answer lies not in looking extra terrestrially for superior beings, but extra materially for the spiritual man and woman of God's creating, forever perfect.
The only sure means to genuine peaceful coexistence is to discover God's government and to discern the true nature of His creation. It is to perceive the kingdom of heaven that Christ Jesus came preaching as the actual, though unseen, reality of existence, moving mankind to experience more spirituality.
Ideal spiritual government - eventually to be found as the only government of all - is specifically defined, and its consummation outlined, in the teachings of the Master. Here there is no greed or discord, no element of force or aggression.
The last book of the Bible, apocalyptic literature at its inspired best, says , ''There was war in heaven . . . . And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world.'' n1 Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, comments on this passage in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ''Innocence and Truth overcome guilt and error.'' n2
n1 Revelation 12:7, 9.
n2 Science and Health, p. 568.
The book of Revelation reaffirms the promise of evil's destruction; the cultivation of innocency and the regenerative power of the Christ, the true idea of God, effect this final extinction.
True innocency is not naivet but spiritual purity without capacity for evil. It is a joy to recognize that true childlikeness - absolute Godlikeness permeated with innocency - can save both individuals and nations from hostility.
The other day I found myself battling over a difference of opinion. As I prayed about it, I realized it wasn't whose opinion was right that engrossed me. Rather, pride of position, of authority, were piqued. But childlikeness knows nothing of personal place and divisive power. The Master's prerequisite for entering the kingdom of heaven - willingness to become as a little child (see Matthew 18:1-4) - always brings a new perspective.
When I was willing to become childlike, and thought was stripped of false pride, I saw that the outcome of this particular situation was of small moment. Sometimes prayer may strengthen us to stand for momentous convictions. But in this instance it made little difference whose opinion was accepted. So it was easy to surrender mine and stop the fight. With this giving up came a spontaneous, heartfelt love for the other opinion-holder. Spiritual innocency, an understanding that only good can prevail, not only had resolved the difference but had forestalled any residue of resentment.
As individuals, and as nations, we can grow up together and practice our innocency. The kind of maturity our times demand is the growing up in our knowledge of the Christ-man, the son of God's creating, His offspring. It means discovering that His sons and daughters, forever innocent of the sins of human history, are the true inhabitants of heaven and earth.
The world cry will be answered, for there is a kingdom of heaven, of harmony, to be discovered and lived. And as this government grows within each of us, we will suffer less the anguish of separation. Unlike the growing up that is merely the maturing of a mortal, growing up together spiritually promises growing closer together. In spiritual unity we find the most permanent basis for universal peace. DAILY BIBLE VERSE O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. Psalms 34:3