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How can we really promote peace in the world?

From The Christian Science Journal - August 13, 2015

Originally written in French, this first appeared in the May 2015 Portuguese, Spanish, French, and German editions of The Herald of Christian Science.

While the media, social networks, as well as international nongovernmental organizations, report on terrible acts of violence, massive displacement of populations, and on situations threatening peace in the world, we could legitimately wonder whether it is still useful to pray for peace in the world. And if the answer is yes, to what extent would our prayer truly reach lives in distress?

As I was thinking about this, motivated by the legitimate desire to see permanent peace reign for the people in the grip of these awful things, I found inspiration in the Bible, especially in the teachings of our Savior, Christ Jesus. 

He promised peace to us when he said: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). 

Man, created by God, has a right to peace.

His teachings show us that all men and women are created by Love, created by God, so they have a divine right to protection, life, freedom, safety, and peace—and God provides these. Jesus gave us also these comforting words: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

When we pray to acknowledge that all men are created by God, the supreme intelligence, to express only good, we love our neighbor and help promote peace in the world. Facing violence against himself, Jesus, who taught that spiritual love is the only response that truly heals aggression, scolded Peter, his disciple, who reacted against the unjust arrest of his Master by using his sword. Jesus said to him: “Put up thy sword into the sheath” (John 18:11). He corrected the thought of violence with love and the thought of injustice with his innocence. For him, to express love was not a sign of weakness or of naiveté, but a power that protects. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, explains,  “Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 571).

Following Jesus’ example, we acknowledge, through prayer, that the universe including man belongs exclusively to God, and that all men and women express God-given dominion over evil, and that includes anything trying to threaten peace in us or among us. 

Thanks to our study of Christian Science, we are grateful to understand that the God we pray to, as Jesus did, is not a human being. God is the divine Principle of all, maintaining justice. God is Truth, that communicates all thoughts of purity; Life that expresses itself in harmonious life; and Spirit that governs all its ideas and fills all space. Seeing things from this standpoint, we recognize that evil, in its most diverse forms, is an illusory and powerless suggestion. And it is destroyed by the spiritual consciousness, which Love imparts, of the perfect relationship of God and man in His image and likeness.

Each time we reason this way spiritually and sincerely—that is, each time we give a Christian Science treatment to help bring peace into the world—the pure truth must naturally be felt anywhere there is a need for peace. Tribal, racial, religious, geographical, or language barriers are unable to restrain the action of such a prayer!

We support and promote peace in the world every time we expect, prayerfully and with a grateful heart, to witness the spiritual presence of freedom and justice in place of injustice and deprivation. 

Some time ago, a friend and I had a serious disagreement, and she angrily swore that she would never talk to me again. I was very concerned about the situation because I wanted to make peace with her. I went to a Christian Science Reading Room, where I read an article titled “Love your enemies” by Mary Baker Eddy, in the book Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896 (pp. 8–13). There, it says, “ ‘Love thine enemies’ is identical with ‘Thou hast no enemies’ ” (p. 9).We promote peace in the world when in our families we don’t accept any prejudice or labeling, but instead we glorify each one’s spiritual individuality and Godlike qualities, acknowledging that the real history of man is in expressing and praising God. Our prayers—motivated by our love for our fellow man, which helps us see our neighbor, our government, and everything about our country from a spiritual point of view—contribute to laying the foundations of a permanent peace in the world.  

The pure truth must naturally be felt anywhere there is a need for peace.

Indeed, it is unthinkable that there could be any darkness of hatred and violence opposing the light of divine Love when we understand that this light fills the universe governed by God and fills the real man’s consciousness. Following this prayerful time and study, our relationship has resumed harmoniously. 

We promote peace each time we become conscious of divine Love’s omnipotence as described in Science and Health, where it says: “One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself;’ annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry,—whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed” (p. 340).

We need to work even harder to establish peace in the world. We could perhaps start deepening our understanding of the spiritual meaning of what Christ Jesus said in his Sermon on the mount: “First cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5).

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