In Nevil Shute's dark novel On the Beach a last remnant of society hangs on in Australia for some time following a world-destroying nuclear holocaust.
If you read the book while you're living on a potential target for a nuclear bomb, you may almost feel inclined to move to Australia. But moving there, or any other place for that matter, isn't really the answer to finding safety. The answer is in another kind of move.
There is a city in the Bible - perhaps we should say a pair of cities - that represent two very different realms. They are Jerusalem and New Jerusalem. The last part of the definition of ''Jerusalem'' from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, n1 is, ''Home, heaven.'' But the earlier part of that definition presents a major challenge: ''Mortal belief and knowledge obtained from the five corporeal senses; the pride of power and the power of pride; sensuality; envy; oppression; tyranny.'' n2 Contrast that with the definition for ''New Jerusalem'' in the same book: ''Divine Science; the spiritual facts and harmony of the universe; the kingdom of heaven, or reign of harmony.'' n3
n1 Mary Baker Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n2 Science and Health, p. 589.
n3 Ibid., p. 592.
If we remain in the negative state of thought depicted in the first definition, the best we can hope for is to keep things like tyranny and oppression hedged back, without ever fully rooting them out. Here, our efforts for peace have a make-do, quick-fix quality about them, because they're based on the assumption that the evil and conflict reported by the corporeal senses are powerful forces, inevitable facts of life. But as we each cultivate the state of thought described in the second definition, our work for peace will rest on a solid foundation.
This work doesn't dodge the issue of what shall we do humanly for peace on earth. It does plant our best efforts for peace in soil they can grow and thrive in.
So, how do we move ourselves, our families, our nations, our world, into New Jerusalem? How do we find ourselves in ''the kingdom of heaven, or reign of harmony'' rather than in the midst of ''mortal belief and knowledge obtained from the five corporeal senses''? The answer is, we follow the Way-shower, Christ Jesus. We follow his teachings as well as his example in every aspect of our lives. We follow him who demonstrated ''the spiritual facts and harmony of the universe'' while he was right here on earth.
What did our Way-shower teach? For just one example, we might look to the Beatitudes. ''Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth,'' n4 Jesus promised. Meekness! Right here we have the exact antidote for ''the pride of power and the power of pride.''
n4 Matthew 5:5.
As we cultivate Christlike qualities - mercy, purity, righteousness, meekness , and so on - we help transform our environment. We find ourselves, in the language of the Beatitudes, being filled, obtaining mercy, seeing God, inheriting the earth. Jerusalem, as the ''knowledge obtained from the five corporeal senses,'' begins to fade out. New Jerusalem - ''the spiritual facts and harmony of the universe'' - begins to appear. True, this is a step-by-step, thought-by-thought process. But it can save our world from holocaust.
Now, we can't possibly cultivate these God-derived qualities in an isolated way, affecting only ourselves and our own view of ourselves. We will touch others by helping to bring to light ''the kingdom of heaven, or reign of harmony.'' This is the actual, spiritual reality of God's creation now, which is unapparent to materialistic mortal thought. So our starting point is, in a sense , New Jerusalem because we're striving to bring out the eternal spiritual facts of creation.
This move toward New Jerusalem is not an ''instead of'' measure. It's not something to do instead of supporting arms control talks or whatever other efforts we're already making for peace. But we need to get those efforts planted on the best basis - a spiritual basis.
We can begin the move today. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. I Timothy 6:11