Honoring International Day of Peace
A Christian Science perspective: We all have rights to peace.
The United Nations General Assembly established Sept. 21 as “an annual day of non-violence and cease-fire.” This year’s theme is the “Right of Peoples to Peace.” This declaration is the acknowledgment that peace is a right of every man, woman, and child. Peace is essential in order to accomplish a full recognition and implementation of human rights. Without peace there is no opportunity for a society to come together in establishing equitable laws, education, and the prosperity of all.
The current hostilities, wars, factions, and resistance to individual rights make peace seem like a very distant thing to accomplish. But the world can see its way there, as the path to peace is more fully understood. Christian Scientists work toward peace from the understanding of God, or Life, as the true arbiter of existence.
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, understood the power of the divine influence on human affairs. The Boston Globe in 1905 asked this influential world religious leader to comment on the peace agreement between Russia and Japan. As Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy’s remarks were naturally and decidedly rooted in the Scriptures. She wrote of her appreciation for the progress among nations but understood that God alone is where to place our hope for peace. “I believe strictly ... in our Constitution, and in the laws of God. While I admire the faith and friendship of our chief executive in and for all nations, my hope must still rest in God, and the Scriptural injunction, – ‘Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth’ ” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 282).
The effect of that scriptural injunction was proved in countless examples throughout the Bible. We have the experiences of Abraham, Jacob, and Ruth, among many others, showing that divine power establishes peace and is always at hand. During impending hostility from his own brother, Jacob prayed to God for deliverance. His prayer opened his eyes to see that the man of God’s creating is not spiteful and violent. God, as infinite good, does not include nor can He create anything opposed to Himself. Jacob discovered that man, as God’s image and likeness, can reflect only the nature of God, divine Love. That prayer led to the activity of divine inspiration within his consciousness. It caused him to relinquish hate and fear. The effect was peace between himself and his brother. Hostility was dissolved. Peace was restored. He was able to greet his brother with genuine love, saying, “I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me” (Genesis 33:10). Jacob’s experience, as well as that of many others throughout the Bible, is proof that peace on Earth is the will of God.
No one proved this more than Christ Jesus. In fact, his life was announced by the angels in heaven as the coming of peace on Earth, and goodwill toward all people (see Luke 2:14).
The key to peace for all people is to follow Jesus’ example. Following Jesus means being obedient to his teachings in what Christians refer to as his Sermon on the Mount, among which is what is commonly referred to as the Golden Rule: “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12).
Adherence to the Golden Rule brings peace, stability, and amity in more than just ourselves. Living it brings needed blessings to all those around us, and we find ourselves linked to the divine, expressing the qualities of our Father-Mother God, Love. Doing unto others as we would have them do unto us is the operation of the law of Christ within each one of us.
Mrs. Eddy’s insightful comments to The Boston Globe in 1905 are helpful for us today. Her response included: “Through the wholesome chastisements of Love, nations are helped onward towards justice, righteousness, and peace, which are the landmarks of prosperity. In order to apprehend more, we must practise what we already know of the Golden Rule, which is to all mankind a light emitting light” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist and Miscellany, p. 282).
It is wholly right that we acknowledge peace as the necessary goal around the world. But efforts for peace go beyond mere human means. To be attained it needs to be understood as a divine requirement and promise. It is the law of God demanding goodwill toward men – the acknowledgment that all of us have one Mind, the Mind that is God, and as the image of God we all express that Mind in wisdom, unity, and love for all. Being of God, this spiritual movement toward peace must be fulfilled.
The prophet Isaiah understood the will of God and its necessary fulfillment for all people: “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace” (Isaiah 55:11,12).