THE prospects for world peace are sometimes discouraging. Peace can seem far-off, even impossible. Ethnic strife, conflicting national loyalties, military rivalry, political ambitions, and selfishness make some wonder if peace will ever come to pass, let alone in our lifetime. Of course, wise efforts to mediate these differences are incomparably better than warfare and have done immeasurable good for our groaning race. But progress is often tedious. Is the world finally ripe for a more spiritual basis for peace?
The holy fact is that God is the source of all that truly exists, and what truly exists is His ideal spiritual universe, which expresses the nature of God, of perfect Spirit, infinite good. Not through a worldly, fleshly sense of life but through spiritual sense we all can at least glimpse this peaceful universe as the genuine reality to be discerned and brought to light.
To God, man is His perfect likeness. All the qualities of God are expressed in man. One of these qualities is peace. Peace is not a vacuum; it's not an absence of strife, nor is it some precarious human tranquillity. Peace is a dynamic attribute of God. It is the vibrant, serene joy that is inherent in man as God's likeness. And we come to experience this through prayer, obedience to divine law, and spiritual understanding. Mary Baker Eddy1 writes, ``The calm and exalted thought or spiritual apprehension is at peace.'' 2 The spiritual peace we feel within is the basis for a wider peace.
Christ Jesus was the model of peace, and peace was indispensable to his teaching. He knew himself and others to be God's offspring; he knew that the consciousness of this reality, and the living of it, demonstrate harmony. Three times we find in the twentieth chapter of John that he said to his beloved disciples, as he surely says to us today, ``Peace be unto you.'' 3
Then, why did he also say, ``Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword''? 4
It seems inconsistent with all that this compassionate man said, and with all that he was, to believe these words were intended to encourage his followers in any era to a zealous, willful attempt to extend the Christly peace he taught. His very life was love being lived.
Couldn't those words refer to the power of Christ, Truth, to utterly obliterate motives and thoughts opposed to it? We might think of Jesus' words as promising and prophesying the end of war among all peoples through the end of war within each individual. Jesus did promise peace, but not on the world's terms. He told one of his disciples, ``Put up . . . thy sword.'' 5 And he said to his disciples, ``Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.'' 6
In God's reality there are no elements of war, no inner, churning conflict or sensualism, no willful, anguished hatred, no fearful selfishness, no derangement. God's precious likeness is the only reality of man, and this likeness is forever at peace. To the one, divine Mind, or God, there are no differing opinions and therefore no conflicts. Harmony is universal now. The challenge is to prove this spiritual truth for ourselves and to forward the well-being of all.
Opening our thought to the spiritual reality, feeling in prayer the unity of man with God, each of us can be at peace. And we can discern that world peace is achievable in our time and that each of us can help bring about its establishment.
No one can say when universal peace will be realized, but it can happen, and to the degree that we are bowing before God it is even now being forwarded.
1 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 506. 3 See John 20:19, 21, 26. 4 Matthew 10:34. 5 Matthew 26:52. 6 John 14:27. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace. Psalms 29:11