The nature of warfare has evolved through the ages. The distant chivalry of knighthood has long since vanished. Even contemporary rules of engagement have evaporated in the face of military and political strategies. Castles and forts are obsolete. Trench warfare gave way to foxholes, and foxholes, to the subtlety of "friend by day - enemy by night." And now, warfare has taken on the tactical compound of mental manipulation and violent physical explosion.
In the absence of any conventional form of human codes, how is this 21st century warfare to be fought - and won?
In an 1895 sermon, Mary Baker Eddy drew on what she labeled the "direful" images of the then current war between China and Japan: "Imagine yourselves in a poorly barricaded fort, fiercely besieged by the enemy. Would you rush forth single-handed to combat the foe? Nay, would you not rather strengthen your citadel by every means in your power, and remain within the walls for its defense? Likewise should we do as metaphysicians and Christian Scientists. The real house in which 'we live, and move, and have our being' is Spirit, God, the eternal harmony of infinite Soul. The enemy we confront would overthrow this sublime fortress, and it behooves us to defend our heritage" ("Pulpit and Press," pg. 2).
Unconstrained by the conventional concept of fortress, Mrs. Eddy directs us to our real house, our real fortress - in God, Spirit. Because the world's warfare in this time is mental, it is useful to add the divine synonym Mind to the nature of our fortress/home. Therefore, our defense is in knowing and living in Mind, God. Living in ever-present Mind, we are never at risk of leaving Mind's protection, and, at the same time, we are never absent from where we need to be to take a stand against war and crime in any of its forms.
In a message to the National Christian Scientist Association in 1888, Mrs. Eddy offered these words to her students: "Firm in your allegiance to the reign of universal harmony, go to its rescue. In God's hour, the powers of earth and hell are proven powerless" ("Miscellaneous Writings, 1883-1896," pg. 134). These words are foundational to winning earth's contest between good and evil. We can remain within the protection of our spiritual citadel, and from that platform, go to the rescue of "universal harmony."
After an early morning in solitary prayer, Christ Jesus said to his disciples, "Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth" (Mark 1:38).
Might this Christian Master be saying, "Let us go to the rescue of 'universal harmony' in those next towns?" The divine Principle, God, is neither immobilized nor intimidated by evil. The man and woman of God's creation is not created to be fragile and vulnerable to threat and terror. Nor can the man of God's creating be perverted into putting others in danger.
The perfect Principle of being is now in action, now asserting the reality of universal harmony. This fact of thought is a force of change for good. Thought reflective of the power of God is not in vain. It is a prayer-driven influence in the elevation of human affairs.
The conscientious warnings about the possibility of terrorist acts are a valid and intelligent service. Heeding the good motive for the warning, we take intelligent human action. But at one with that wise human action is the divine power of prayer in human affairs that tends toward lifting the cloud of potential barbaric evil.
The graceful Roman aqueduct, the Pont du Gard, in southern France, survived the attacks of medieval northern invaders because they lacked the energy to destroy it. It was beyond destruction by any weapons system of the times. And, mercifully, society grew up, and this grand piece of history and engineering still stands.
Our universal and protecting prayer in these times is: that evil is not energy, it has no power, it cannot threaten or intimidate. Evil is ultimately inadequate.
God is all. God is divine Principle. Love is our ever-present protection, and universal harmony describes the nature of God's universe - where we safely live.