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Needed: LastingPeace

IN the aftermath of the Persian Gulf war, events in the Middle East are dramatizing to concerned people everywhere how important it is to find a sound and lasting remedy to the barbarity of war. While there are no quick or easy answers, at least we are beginning to ask ourselves how this can be done.During World War II, when my young friends stopped by for a word of encouragement before leaving for military training or active service, my earnest counsel was: "You are not going out to die for your country. You are going out to live for your country. Since then, however, I've come to see that all of us--even those who are not involved in military affairs--need to do more than live for our country. We need to live for the world in such a way as to prevent any outbreak of national enmities that would lead to war. A nation is often considered to be the total of its citizens. But if we take into consideration the diverse human backgrounds, we begin to see that even our sincerest personal efforts at tolerance, magnanimity, and forgiveness aren't going to be enough to prevent war. But there is something we can do. When our actions rest on a spiritual basis, no individual thought or act is inconsequential. Every decision for honesty, every effort to behave justly, every act of mercy--these efforts to embody the Bea titudes taught by Christ Jesus create oases of peace that do make a difference to all mankind. Conversely, a small duplicity, a push of self-will, or an indulgence of selfishness only adds to the frictions that lead to war. When such negative actions--our own or otherspress in on us, we can find refuge in a wisdom higher and more secure than our own. When I'm praying for the guidance I need in my own life, I often think of God's promise to a man who was much in need of wisdom and guidance. And God's promise to this man, Moses, in Exodus, "Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, comforts me with the assurance that God will "send an Angel to direct my way, also. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, describes angels as "God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality. I have often considered the significance of the word counteract. That which counteracts moves directly against whatever needs to be destroyed or neutralized. For me this has been positive assurance that, however threatening the circumstance, an angel, a message from God, is right there to destroy the danger. The spiritual intuition that enables us to respond to God's guidance is another marvelous angel activity. When we're listening to God in prayer, we don't always need to stop to figure things out . We can immediately be willing and prepared to act. One day during World War II, my son was midway up a steep hill, directing a crew of men installing communication lines on the flat terrain below. Suddenly, out of the blue as it were, an inner voice thundered, Get off this hill. He obeyed this spiritual intuition immediately. Within minutes, the upper part of the hill roared down in an avalanche of shale. The falling debris, however, stopped short of where the men were working. No one was harmed, and the work continued without interruption. As we ourselves are willing to listen to God's direction, our individual lives will become more peaceful. Then conflicts between nations will gradually but steadily erode until, as we read in Isaiah, "They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

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