I admit it. Until recently, I didn't know that Wednesday, September 21, is The International Day of Peace. At first I was clueless as to what that meant. The International Day of Peace, born of a United Nations resolution originally adopted more than two decades ago, has grown as a phenomenon and a force.
A recent trip to the website www.internationaldayofpeace.org disclosed a photo of a sea of humanity from last year's International Day of Peace Vigil in Sri Lanka. Three million people participated - three million participants in a nation of around 20 million.
I try to extrapolate from that how many hundreds of millions of people worldwide would participate if we all matched the Sri Lankan ratio. My inner computer freezes up. The numbers are too huge. I realize this is not something to dismiss. It's more than a symbolic gesture by UN diplomats. It's a celebration - a whole collection of events - for the cause of peace.
What most catches my attention at the site are the repeated urgings to pray.
I believe prayer is the best weapon we have for peace. At noon Wednesday participants in Peace Day will pause for one minute of silence, prayer, and meditation.
If it's past noon as you read this, not to worry. Pause for prayer at the top of the hour. It'll be noon somewhere on the planet. You'll be joining who knows how many fellow peacemakers.
I can't help thinking of Christ Jesus, called in the Scriptures the Prince of Peace. I know Jesus' ministry was strewn with episodes veering toward violence: the angry mob about to throw him off a hill, another mob intent on stoning a woman, an insane man forever on the edge of violent outbursts.
In those instances, Jesus' prayerful words and actions steered events to peaceful outcomes. He once said, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you" (John 14:27).
I long for my own prayers to trigger the same kind of healing results. What to do? How to lift my prayers so they begin to pattern the Christly example? I know it's OK to wish for peace, even to beg the Almighty for it. But I'm convinced those mental actions don't come close to matching what Jesus did. "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you." Was peace for him so tangible, so powerful, he knew he could give it and we could receive it?
Then, one demand on me is: Receive that Christly gift of peace. A larger demand is: See others, in fact all of humanity, as receptive to the peace that comes from God through Christ to us. I know from the Scriptures that a peacemaker is a child of God. We're all, in truth, offspring of the one God, who is Mind and Principle.
So everyone on the planet is potentially a peacemaker? The concept is hard for me to accept. "My peace I give unto you." Was this offering for everyone? Yes. Then anyone truly willing to embrace and embody Christ's gift of peace - to let it transform them - has the potential to be a peacemaker.
Peace is that powerful. It's powerful because peace isn't just an occasional societal condition but a perpetual scientific fact and spiritual reality. It's powerful enough to transform all of humanity, one heart at a time. It's powerful because it emanates from the one divine power. I want to know that so vividly that my prayers make a difference.
Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy wrote: "Christian Science reinforces Christ's sayings and doings. The Principle of Christian Science demonstrates peace." And further along she added, "God is the divine Mind. Hence the sequence: Had all peoples one Mind, peace would reign" ("The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," page 279). Now, that's a sequence to which I'll give my all, this day, every day.