'Swords into plowshares'
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
About 15 years ago, I was the eye-witness to a double murder in front of our house. I remember the fear and mistrust I felt toward all kinds of people after this incident, and the insecurity and anxiety that accompanied this shocking event.
I found in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy a sentence that moved me to do something with my fears and face them. In my case it meant to find the root of the fear and anxiety I felt. Here's the sentence: "We should consecrate existence, not 'to the unknown God' whom we 'ignorantly worship,' but to the eternal builder, the everlasting Father, to the Life which mortal sense cannot impair nor mortal belief destroy" (pg. 428).
My fundamental trust in people had been destroyed a trust and love for people that had to do with my generally open and friendly nature but also with my deep love for God and His wonderful creation. This trust had been a guide in my daily affairs, and it felt as if I had to learn to live without it.
But this sentence from Science and Health mapped out a new path for me. It showed me that I could "consecrate existence" in a productive way.
It alerted me to draw a line between mortal and spiritual life, between each of us as the children of God and mortality. It showed me a way to perceive spiritual life and to see clearly my fear and anxiety as part of a mortal view of life, trying to impair or destroy trust, goodness, and peace. Quickly and permanently, my inner peace and love for good were restored. And today I am receiving calls for prayer and spiritual action.
I endeavor to turn my questions and fears into powerful prayers for safety and peace for everyone. I take the active decision to step out of routine prayer to inspired listening and stillness. It is strengthening to know that we can do something with our troubled thoughts, and here the Bible provides direction.
The book of the prophet Isaiah states that the people of God "shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks" (Isa. 2:4).
In a metaphorical way, my thoughts, reacting to news of suicide bombers and other acts of terror, feel just like that, like swords cutting through my inner peace the fear and anxiety feeling like spears penetrating my trust and awareness of divine goodness and safety. But by taking hold of them and forging them into something useful, I can enter the field of my consciousness with the right equipment. And I see and feel that from instruments for war, equipment for sowing and eventual reaping is forged. There is indeed a good power in the very place where evil seems to be. Spirit is unseen but felt when we wait on our spiritual sense to speak clearly through the clamor of fears.
It's natural to look beyond our own needs, natural to enlarge our outlook and prepare it with plowshares for good to multiply and feed many. We will perhaps be able to participate modestly in preventing events like those in the Middle East, the US, and other parts of the world.
Mary Baker Eddy, at the end of the 19th century, wrote about the impact of such individual prayer: "How can we do this Christianly scientific work?... You have simply to preserve a scientific, positive sense of unity with your divine source, and daily demonstrate this. Then you will find that one is as important a factor as duodecillions in being and doing right, and thus demonstrating deific Principle" ("Pulpit and Press," pgs. 2, 4).
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall
they learn war any more.
O house of Jacob, come ye,
and let us walk in
the light of the Lord.
Isaiah 2:4, 5