WE hear or read that phrase so often--in connection with arms limitation talks, religious and racial strife, brush-fire conflicts threatening to involve powerful allies. Do we consider what it means, though? If prospects for peace truly hinge on chance, who wouldn't be tempted to see them as minuscule? There is another perspective on peace, one that excludes chance altogether. It is the view that comes by turning our thought to God. Because God is Spirit, the universe He creates and knows is purely spiritual. The nature of this universe is Godlike: perfectly formed, flawless in operation, harmonious. Is this the universe we're living in right now? Yes and no. Yes, it is the only universe that truly exists; and no, it's not the one we see with the limited human senses. Can we see and experience this universe at peace now? Yes we can.
We can do as Elisha did when his servant, fearful at the sight of an army surrounding them, cried in panic, ``How shall we do?'' In spite of what appears to be overwhelming odds against peace, we can take the view that is totally congruent with God's and say with Elisha, ``Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.''1 Elisha's ``they'' points to the presence of our omnipotent God, divine Love.
Peace in its highest sense is not the risky absence of violence characterized these days by a tentative cease-fire between factions. Nor is peace truly a ``process,'' a twisting path toward an agreement based on political will and human compromise, or even on enlightened self-interest. True peace lies in fulfillment of Christ Jesus' promise ``Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you....''2 To experience this Christly peace, though, we must also come to understand the phrase following those words: ``...not as the world giveth, give I unto you.''
The basis of true peace is our unity with God, the oneness that Jesus lived and taught. It is a peace that material conditions do not originate and that neither sin, disease, nor death can destroy. Jesus acted in opposition to the currents of worldliness and material force. So we shouldn't mistakenly look for a superficial peace as the solution to a complex equation of humanly mental or physical forces. Instead, we might well learn Jesus' way of bringing not peace, ``but a sword''3 to discordant conditions. We need to turn to God with all our hearts and seek a higher harmony and safety.
This doesn't mean that efforts to establish peaceful human relations are worthless. In fact, just the opposite; it is work in the right direction. The value of our peacemaking will multiply, however, as it becomes more the effect of our own conscious oneness with God, divine Love, than a personal cause prompted by fear. This oneness isn't splendid isolation from reality or a mystical union with a distant supernatural being. It's our daily demonstration of man's permanent relationship to his Maker, and it is realized through consistent communion with the loving Father of all. This scientific prayer denies the sometimes awesome evidence of the senses and affirms God's omnipotence.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded the Science of Christianity--Christian Science--demonstrated this Science through a deeply reasoned and thoroughly tested reliance on God for every need. Her Church doesn't stand for idle hopes for peace in a risky world, any more than Jesus ``hoped'' for calm when the disciples woke him in the middle of a fierce storm on a lake. His command ``Peace, be still''4 was based on his natural understanding of his Father's supreme might and constant presence.
It is never personal willpower, but God's Christ, that brings peace to human conditions--to a divided family, to storm clouds of international conflict, to the turmoil of bodily dysfunction. Mrs. Eddy writes, ``He risks nothing who obeys the law of God, and shall find the Life that cannot be lost.''5
Chance and peace are not partners in a shaky present or an uncertain future. They are totally antithetical. Chance is the mistaken belief in the absence of God, divine Principle. Peace is the effect of God's control of His entirely spiritual creation, and it is our rightful state of being. This fact, understood and lived, pacifies troubled conditions. Our growing spiritual understanding will bring Immanuel-- ``God with us''--to light, and we will meet the turbulence of our times with God's law of calm.
1II Kings 6:15, 16. 2John 14:27. 3See Matthew 10:34. 4Mark 4:39. 5Miscellaneous Writings, p. 211. DAILY BIBLE VERSE He maketh the storm a calm . . . Psalms 107:29