Peace in a Bottle?

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

While I was shopping in the local supermarket, a sparkling array of multicolored bottles lined up on the shelves stopped me. Examining them, I read some interesting things on the labels: "serene foaming bath oil"; "calming face mask"; "harmonizing shampoo"; "cooling foot balm"; "tranquil massage oil"; "revitalizing soap"; "rejuvenating body and face scrub."

The adjectives on those bottles describe beautiful qualities-peaceful, even spiritual qualities. But such qualities are not found in health and beauty products. Not ultimately. They come from a different source, a far higher and more permanent source.

Peace belongs to God and has its origin in Him. Christ Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you" (John 14:27). Jesus could say truthfully and confidently, ". . . my peace I give unto you" because he knew peace is actually ours by divine right. According to the Bible, we are the likeness of God, who is Spirit. We are the exact image of God and therefore have all the spiritual qualities of God that express peace. When a person is aware of this fact, he or she experiences this peace in practical ways.

Jesus said, "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 4:17). To repent can mean "to rethink." We have to rethink, change our thinking, change our mind, to find the kingdom of heaven that is within our grasp. The rewards of this changed outlook-blessedness, happiness, and peace-Jesus promised to the poor in spirit, the mourners, meek, seekers after righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, persecuted, and falsely accused for righteousness' sake (see Matthew 5:2-12). Such people have at least one thing in common-they share states of receptivity to the truth. They may have a willingness to pray or to listen to the Word of God; to learn more about God and their relation to Him; to rely on God; to change their thinking.

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, recommended a change from a view of ourselves as made of flesh, blood, and bones, to an acknowledgment of our spiritual identity as the child of God. This true view, she promised, would open the way for good to flow into our lives.

So how do we maintain an awareness of this identity? In the textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mrs. Eddy wrote: "The effects of Christian Science are not so much seen as felt. It is the 'still, small voice' of Truth uttering itself. We are either turning away from this utterance, or we are listening to it and going up higher. Willingness to become as a little child and to leave the old for the new, renders thought receptive of the advanced idea. Gladness to leave the false landmarks and joy to see them disappear,-this disposition helps to precipitate the ultimate harmony" (pp. 323-324).

This "ultimate harmony" is peace. People try sometimes to live on two planes of existence at once, the material and spiritual, accepting both as equally real. Yet Spirit and matter have no logical relation to each other. The only real and true existence is spiritual. It is governed by the one supreme power-God-and sustained by His spiritual laws.

In communion with God we find the safety, harmony, and comfort of home. One evening someone made a cruel remark to me. I took it hard. And I felt a stabbing pain in my chest that frightened me. I went on a long walk to try to regain my peace. I stopped in a coffee shop and prayed humbly, "Lord, give me a greater sense of Your love." And I listened intently for an answer. It came in my remembering the words of Jesus: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). A feeling of God's love for me swept over me. The hurt of that remark and the physical pain both faded away. Peace descended on me. I felt I was healed.

There is no evidence of good in human circumstances without a corresponding awareness in thought. A feeling of what Jesus called "my peace" results from understanding God, and it heals.

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