Opinions and the pursuit of peace

WE had just sat down to supper when the telephone rang. The caller requested my participation in an opinion poll, and I can't say I felt too happy about the interruption. But it made me think a lot more deeply about the value that's placed on opinions. Opinions are often based on an emotional response, and almost always on what's taken in by our eyes and ears. What's interesting is that there's nearly always someone who takes an opposite view, and feels honestly justified in doing so. And who's to say who's really right?

As we look at one of the major problems confronting the human race-- namely, the need for world peace--it would seem that this hoped-for state will come only when one human opinion wins out over another. Ideological differences keep mankind in a constant state of flux and uncertainty as nations build arsenals and update defense systems.

But above and beyond opinions, which often tend to divide, is the power of prayer--prayer that acknowledges the all-power of God, divine Love, and the power of His Christ, as represented in Jesus' career.

The prophet Isaiah foretold an important aspect of the nature of Christ when he described the coming Messiah as ``The Prince of Peace.'' 1 And Jesus' life gave proof of the power of Christ to bring peace as well as of the powerlessness of human opinion to destroy true goodness.

In a storm at sea the boat carrying Jesus and his disciples was threatened. The Master was asleep, untroubled by conditions. But the disciples' great fear impelled them to waken him. His response was to invoke the power of Christ to silence the storm. ``Peace, be still,'' he said. Mark's Gospel continues, ``And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.'' 2 In the Christian Science textbook, Mary Baker Eddy3 defines Christ as ``the divine manifestation of God, which comes to t he flesh to destroy incarnate error.'' 4 The Christ is not limited by time or space. It is just as present and powerful now as when Jesus was with us. And we can call upon that same Christ-power within.

When faced with some storm of indignation over a wrong done, or a storm of fear about a diseased condition, we can reflect the divine power through prayer. Christ is powerful enough to rebuke and calm the situation, and save us or those we love. And the power of Christ can have a healing influence in the world as a whole as we realize in prayer its irresistible power and universal activity.

When my husband was in the midst of a job change, his enthusiasm for the new work was suddenly assailed by deep doubts about the wisdom of his decision. Weeks of anxiety threatened to unglue the stability of our family life. We prayed daily for a more accurate picture of man as God has actually created him, in His image--secure and wise. And to support our efforts, we asked a Christian Science practitioner to pray with us.

Most important, we realized we couldn't calm the storm while we were wavering between two opinions--that God was all-power but that something could be out of His control. The delightful peace and satisfying resolution that resulted from our prayers included a clear sense that God makes no mistakes, therefore His perfect creation could include only harmony.

We can arrive at the right answer by dropping willful opinions and allowing the Christ to reveal in us God's kingdom within.

How does this influence world peace? To the degree that individuals gain a spiritually derived peace within themselves, mankind will move toward universal peace. As we each realize the legacy in the Master's statement ``Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you,'' 5 we can prove the power of that legacy daily. We can refuse to be goaded by evil or inflamed by fear. We can rebuke the evils of divisiveness, animosity, and fear within our own

thought, and let that mind be in us ``which was also in Christ Jesus.'' 6

Peace, as well as charity, begins at home. Forgiving instead of accusing, cherishing instead of hating, is the foundation for universal peace. Let it begin! 1 Isaiah 9:6. 2 Mark 4:39. 3 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Sci ence. 4 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 583. 5 John 14:27. 6 Philippians 2:5.

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