JUST as much as it wants to find deep and lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, the world wants to see peace fully and finally overtake the so-called Troubles in Northern Ireland. When bombings occur, as they have in Israel and in London, the question might arise, ''Can a bomb blast alter the course of peace?''
A peace that consists merely of maintaining an unruffled status quo may be vulnerable to the willful, violent intentions of human beings. But true peace is never endangered. It is spiritual. It comes from God. God sustains it. It is not subject to the actions of men and women, but is the outcome of a law of God that is invariable. To a person who prays, such a peace is very real and tangible, and is independent of whether the status quo is currently maintained or is being turned on its head. Not the mere absence of friction and hostility, spiritual peace is felt through the solid, substantial conviction of God's unfailing justice and goodness, never vulnerable to attack.
Almost two thousand years ago, Christ Jesus showed the nature of spiritual peace to be different from that of worldly peace. For instance, Jesus and his disciples were once in a boat, when a storm threatened to sink them. Mark's Gospel relates that Jesus spoke directly to the turbulent sea, commanding, ''Peace, be still'' (4:39). Knowing the unwavering peace of God to be the truth of existence, Jesus showed the security of him and his disciples to be more than a theory, and this right where the fury of wind and storm told an opposite story.
Jesus didn't appease the storm; he stilled it. He did this without human action. It must have been his prayer-his understanding of the truth-that had the power to do this.
The divine Mind is infinite. It is God Himself. We can understand that we reflect God, and thus be aware of the divine peace that no lesser power exists to rob us of, or to hide from us. The human thought willing to commit any violent act, in the name of a struggle perceived just, is clearly blind to the spiritual peace available to all. Those who think in such ways-as well as the victims of their acts-all deserve our prayers. They deserve to win their freedom from such evil temptations. The rightful struggle we all need to be engaged in is that of wrestling with and overcoming evil. God's good is spiritual, and universally available right now. To keep the recognition of this truth uppermost in one's own thought is to undertake a struggle that is at once harmless and powerful. Triumphs in understanding spiritual truth, such as the fact that not one of us is ever alienated from God, bring to light something of the eternal peace that is possible for humankind to achieve.
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, a book written by Mary Baker Eddy, says, ''If men understood their real spiritual source to be all blessedness, they would struggle for recourse to the spiritual and be at peace; but the deeper the error into which mortal mind is plunged, the more intense the opposition to spirituality, till error yields to Truth'' (p. 329). The book records Mrs. Eddy's discovery, which she called Christian Science and which is the basis of the ideas in this article.
It is that ''struggle for recourse to the spiritual,'' within individual hearts and minds, that defeats the machinations of aggression. This struggle promotes peace.
God is unthwarted by any number of bombs; He is today what He was before the latest bomb explosion. Peace is God's purpose and plan for the people of Israel and of the West Bank, as well as for the people of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and mainland Britain. This is not to ignore or belittle the lives lost in these areas. But the only power that a bomb or any other human incident can have on us is to force us to find the true source of peace.
Until a bomb is invented that can derail God's love (and none ever can be), the course of peace is set. Nothing and no one can destroy our thoughts. Nothing can prevent our prayers for peace.