It was New Year’s Eve in Recife, Brazil, and for as far as the eye could see, the city streets, the beach sands, even the shallows of the ocean were covered with people wearing white. The color represented their desire to bring peace into the new year.
The spectacle has stayed with me in the years since, not just because of the striking imagery, but also because of the reason. I was amazed that of all the different hopes and desires people could ask for, so many wished for the same thing: peace. At some level, doesn’t each one of us, deep down, want to see all conflict overcome – to find an enduring, satisfying peace – for ourselves and the world?
That innate desire for the serenity, harmony, and lovingkindness that constitute peace points to an idea I’ve learned from the Bible and the teachings of Christian Science – an idea that has meant a lot to me. It is that Love, commonly referred to as God, is our true source of being. I’ve seen how understanding that we each have our origin in Love can transform our lives and bring peace.
I remember having an argument with a friend that was breaking our friendship apart, leaving both of us especially upset. When I got home later that evening, after replaying the argument in my head, I began to pray about what had happened – something I had found helpful and healing in the past.
My prayers weren’t a recitation or kneeling down in worship. They were sincere desires and mental pleas that helped me come to a revelation at that time: It wasn’t about getting this friend to come over to my view, or for me to switch to hers – it wasn’t even about the conflict itself. It was about how I could better see a higher, spiritual view of what we truly are and where we come from.
In truth, we are the expressions of God, reflecting His peace. It’s a concept that comes from the teachings of Christ Jesus, the “Prince of Peace,” who said, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9). Understanding that we all are children of God, good, gave Jesus the power to heal, and all who pray from this basis have the ability to heal. It isn’t limited to any person, time, or place; God’s law of peace is innate to us all.
Prior to this argument, my friend had told me that being stubborn was just “who she was.” Yet the heart of Jesus’ teachings, the Science of what he taught, showed that we are spiritual, made in Love’s likeness and inherently capable of expressing qualities that reflect God’s love, including thoughtfulness, kindness, and joy. In spite of the picture around us, this is the lasting reality of our being, and Jesus showed that even a glimmer of this understanding brings a healing peace. Striving to see my friend as God made her, not as a stubborn person, was my way of practicing what Jesus taught.
As I prayed in this way, I began to see my friend more spiritually and felt an overwhelming peace that I knew could only come from God, from divine Love itself. The joy I felt from this prayer is summed up perfectly by the discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy: “What a glorious inheritance is given to us through the understanding of omnipresent Love! More we cannot ask: more we do not want: more we cannot have. This sweet assurance is the ‘Peace, be still’ to all human fears, to suffering of every sort” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 307).
Just moments after feeling this grounding, harmonizing peace, I received a phone call. It was my friend! She had called to apologize. I told her that all was well and that I was there to support her in our friendship. I was so grateful not only to continue our friendship and to feel at peace, but to see how directly and clearly prayer can bring real harmony into our lives.
Although this is a small example, to me it illustrates the power of God, of Love, to bring us peace. Going forward, I hope we can all be encouraged to see and express the peace that comes from divine Love – for the new year and beyond.