Peace in the Midst of Turmoil
MAY Day has many customs associated with it. One of the most vivid in recent years has been the march of military personnel and weapons through Red Square as the then Soviet Union celebrated this holiday.
The breakup of the union--and other major changes in the world--have led to both great progress and great suffering as new nations strive to find their identities and relate to the world and to each other. And in our own lives, the many changes occurring in society sometimes pose severe challenges.
While most of us won't have an opportunity personally to help nations struggling with change, except in small ways perhaps, we can each pray for God's guidance and direction in our own lives and for our world. Such prayer will lead us to the answers we need individually. And it will also help to bring peace and stability to our own and other countries.
This peace doesn't rest on a material basis--whether that is thought of as having more weapons or as having more treaties than anyone else. It comes, instead, from the recognition of our relationship to God as Christ Jesus presented it and from learning to love and to trust God. In fact, Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount, "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Jesus knew that, contrary to popular belief, man has an unbreakable relationship to God and that God's love for man is limitless. This doesn't mean that we can do evil and expect an indulgent God to let us get away with it. Rather, that God's love is so potent that it enables us to give up behaviors and thoughts that would impede our steps toward peace. Such spiritual love can operate as a law in our lives, one that will guide us and will also help us find and establish peace in our relationships.
This law, which has divine Principle, or God, as its source, is a law of good, a law of blessing. It can never lead to evil of any kind. At their best, human laws, treaties, negotiations, and so forth partake of elements of the divine law. And when they do, they illustrate that higher power of God, governing our world.
In addition to its universality, however, divine law operates quite specifically in our own daily lives. Jesus proved this through the many individual healings he brought about. And you and I, if we wish to follow him, can prove the value of divine law for ourselves.
We can start simply by praying each day for God's direction and then obeying His guidance. And reliance on prayer does bring peace. I remember a time during the Persian Gulf War when conditions where a friend of mine works seemed filled with turmoil. My friend's staff seemed to be constantly fighting, and nothing she did made any difference. As the week dragged on, she began to feel quite worn down!
My friend knew that Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes much about divine law in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. This statement from Mrs. Eddy's book was especially meaningful: "To suppose that God constitutes laws of inharmony is a mistake; discords have no support from nature or divine law, however much is said to the contrary.
As a result of pondering this and other statements from Science and Health and the Bible, my friend began to see more clearly than ever before that divine Love, God, is ever present. This meant to her that even though she didn't seem to be feeling God's love--and it wasn't noticeably being exhibited by her staff--Love, God, was still there.
She realized that no matter how bad the situation became at work, she could make a point of affirming Love's presence with her and everyone. The result of doing this filled her with amazement. The staff problems totally quieted down. The conditions that had been so upsetting were still present, but they no longer were causing turmoil. Peaceful relationships were reestablished where bickering had been the rule. In short, divine Love had indeed been present, and her simple prayer--coupled with a determinat ion to seek and to express Love's qualities in every way that she could--had made a difference.
This declaration of Love's presence wasn't just an intellectual activity. My friend made a point of striving to express the impartial love of God--one of the qualities that is natural to man as God's spiritual offspring. And her willingness to stick with this effort, even with very little encouragement at first, helped to bring peace.
These ideas also extend to the international arena. Each of us can affirm the presence of intelligence, of wisdom, of love, in nations and in those who represent them. Even when conditions seem quite the opposite of obeying divine law, we can pray fervently to know that God, divine Principle, is indeed present and that His law will guide our leaders and negotiators to the answers they need.
Such prayer requires discipline--in order to keep out prejudice, anger, and fear--but as we persist in it for our own lives and for the world, all mankind will benefit.
My brethren dearly beloved and longed for,
my joy and crown,
so stand fast in the Lord . . . .
And the peace of God,
which passeth all understanding,
shall keep your hearts and minds
through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:1, 7