Individuals and world peace
GOVERNMENTS, diplomats, and organizations that are working honestly to help the world toward peace deserve support in those efforts. But human organizations have limitations. World peace seems agonizingly far-off, and progress toward it seems slow. Mutual distrusts, regional hatreds, historic tensions, seem to go on and on. New ones crop up. Something more is needed.
Is it possible that ``something'' has to do with individual rather than collective effort? But how can an individual realistically hope to advance world peace? Isn't the challenge far too complicated?
It is not; yet we must be modest. None of us is commissioned by God to surge onto the world scene like an all-powerful equalizer to produce and enforce world peace miraculously. That vision is more often egotistical than wise, and it may be similar to what some of his disciples expected of Christ Jesus. ``Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?'' they asked him.
His reply seemed to say that the issue was in the hands of God, not men. ``It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.'' Then he gently promised them, ``But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.'' 1
Perhaps this is central to effective individual work for world peace--that we let the Holy Ghost come on us. Even the Master himself came in meekness, worked in humility, and said clearly, ``I must work the works of him that sent me . . . .'' 2
Referring to the time after Jesus' ascension, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ``His students then received the Holy Ghost. By this is meant, that by all they had witnessed and suffered, they were roused to an enlarged understanding of divine Science, even to the spiritual interpretation and discernment of Jesus' teachings and demonstrations, which gave them a faint conception of the Life which is God. They no longer measured man by material sense.'' 3
To be effective peacemakers today, we need to gain at least a ``faint conception'' of Life as God and of man as the image of God. It's true that man often appears very ungodlike. To our finite sense of things he appears to be a fragile fleshly being, inherently sinful. But this is not the ultimate or true nature of man as God has created him. To God, infinite good, and to His man, there is no conflict, because there is no fear, pride, revenge, or hate to produce it. These are excluded from the presence of infinite Love. They can no more exist in the divine presence than ice can exist on the face of the sun. Peace, then, as a quality of God, is in reality present everywhere. The material senses cannot confirm this spiritual truth. But we can all cultivate the spiritual sense through which we know the peace of God and help bring it to light. When we humbly yield to the touch of the Holy Ghost, we find we can say with Jacob, ``Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.'' 4
Only to say this is not enough, of course. We need to prove it in our daily lives. And we prove it by purifying our thoughts and lives of warring elements through prayer. Often that can be challenging, especially when trouble is close to us. It may seem easier to love a political tyrant oceans away than a family member who loses his temper.
But it can be done. We can wage effective war on the warring elements that would destroy our peace. Our prayers can at least give us a glimpse of our spiritual nature as children of God, in which there is no sin and therefore no strife.
Mrs. Eddy writes, ``If men understood their real spiritual source to be all blessedness, they would struggle for recourse to the spiritual and be at peace . . . .'' 5
When through an understanding of God and of the true nature of man we struggle for and demonstrate even a little more peace in our own lives, we benefit the world. We glimpse that God has dominion not only in our lives but in His entire creation. And this perception blesses the world in a way and at a depth that nothing else can. It helps bring to light the divine control of the universe. Mrs. Eddy writes, ``Immortal Mind, governing all, must be acknowledged as supreme in the physical realm, so-called, as well as in the spiritual.'' 6
We must be modest. All good is accomplished by God's power. But the fact is that through a realization of His control, and the proof of it in our own lives, each of us can be an effective peacemaker. 1 Acts 1:6-8. 2 John 9:4. 3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 46. 4 Genesis 28:16. 5 Science and Health, p. 329. 6 Ibid., p. 427.