A Christian Science perspective: Why peace is a present possibility.

A recent Monitor article tells of a friendship and collaboration between an Israeli rabbi and a Palestinian farmer. My heart surged once more with hopes for world peace, which has long been near and dear to me. The article reminded me that peace comes first individually, and then, after it is shared, it can ripple outward. We often mistakenly think that peace comes as a condition from outside us, when it is actually something we must each proactively choose and develop.

When I started to study Christian Science, I learned that its discoverer, Mary Baker Eddy, put forth for consideration seven synonyms for God: Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, and Love (see "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 465). Initially, as I pondered this, I thought one synonym was missing from that list: peace. That's how ultimate I thought peace was – a supreme Godlike presence, a necessity that would make all the difference.

I have since concluded that peace is a nexus for all seven synonyms, their central overlapping point and sustaining underpinning. This is why we crave peace, because it is essential both to our Creator and therefore to us, His creation.

It is because peace is spiritually inherent and we are predisposed to it that it feels so good to read stories of peace like the one in the article mentioned above. Peace feels like a homecoming, and that harmony of congruence resonates with our most authentic being.

But finding peace can be difficult; there are so many suggestions to the contrary. Peace must be waged. It is not a butterfly that comes unbidden and sits on our shoulder. So many temptations can distract us from it. The many opposites of peace clamor loudly.

We traditionally think a novel is uninteresting without a conflict, but I am beginning to see instead that it is the trajectories of peace that form the most fascinating stories. Contrary to preconceptions, trajectories of peace are far from dull, because they satisfy our yearnings for growth, alignment, innocence, gratitude, and unity.

We can each find ways to wage peace within our spheres of influence as our brothers described in the article are doing. As a Christian, I see their love for each other as a bold embodiment of Jesus' commandment to "love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:39, New King James Version). But their own faith traditions also have teachings along those lines.

That commandment has two parts. You must love yourself while loving your neighbor in the same way. Without fulfilling both parts, contention will arise. But when you do both, there is respect and equality. Let us strive for peace by loving our neighbors, co-workers, relatives, and those considered nemeses and rivals.

We can choose compassion over blame, trust over insecurity, encouragement over criticism, love over fear, and advocacy over undermining. A song from my childhood states, "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me." As we each wage peace, we will have that peace to share. And every one of us is capable of this. It is a present possibility, supported by a universal, beneficent God who loves us all impartially.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.