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Our individual peace efforts

From the July 16, 1979 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

When heads of state can be seen working at conciliation through diplomacy, I question my own role in the achievement of world peace. As a concerned citizen, what contribution can I make?

As I think about this, it occurs to me that the conflicts that have pitted nation against nation throughout recorded history often appear to be little more than tribal, petty acts of aggression based on selfishness and vindictiveness. It becomes increasingly clear to me that global confrontations are really magnifications of neighborhood squabbles and fights. Another's thoughtless trespassing on one's property, a neighborhood dog menacing the children, property overflowing with discarded junk encroaching upon a well-cared-for yard—these kinds of conflict are familiar to us all. What are they if not border disputes that may erupt into our own little wars?

Understanding this, I then ask myself, "Am I contributing to world peace by a peaceful life with my neighbors? Or am I contributing to world strife? Do I have Christly compassion for all within the radius of my thought? Do I love all equally? Or is my sense of love a personalized, family-centered concentrate that dilutes increasingly as it spreads out to mankind?" Good questions! Here is my challenge.

I have come to see that exclusive, one-sided affection for my family, my church, my race, or my nation would debar the rest (the majority) of mankind from my love. In this narrowness lie the hidden seeds of conflict, the fuel that fires international hostility. Actually, Christian Science teaches that love for all mankind begins with love for home and family. "Home," Mary Baker Eddy tells us, "is the dearest spot on earth, and it should be the centre, though not the boundary, of the affections." Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 58;

The true familyhood of individuals and nations rests on the fatherhood of God and its consequent: the brotherhood of man. Understanding this eliminates tribalism and conflict among people and therefore nations. As a hymn so beautifully says:

Then, brother man, fold to thy heart thy brother,
For where love dwells, the peace of God is there:
To worship rightly is to love each other;
Each smile a hymn, each kindly deed a prayer. Christian Science Hymnal, No. 217;

The need is to love!—not to love just our own family, but to love all, regardless of race, creed, or nationality. We can look right through the prejudice, bigotry, and tribalism that divide mankind and see every single individual as he truly is, a beloved son of God. Healing the "we-they" schism by seeing the individual image of God instead of mortal man, we make a fundamental contribution to world peace.

In neighborhood quarrels, as surely as in international conflict, the aggressor is always the same, and that aggressor is not man but impersonal evil. The pernicious belief that there exists a mortal who lives in matter, with all the attendant beliefs inherent in that concept (many minds, diverse loyalties, varying concepts of reality), inevitably brings conflict. Our Leader, Mrs. Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, writes, "The erroneous belief that life, substance, and intelligence can be material ruptures the life and brotherhood of man at the very outset." Science and Health, p. 541;

This material view of man as classified and divided into haves and have-nots replete with linguistic, racial, and religious barriers is indeed "of few days, and full of trouble." Job 14:1; But God's man (the real you and me) is not materially defined. God's child is perfect, since the perfection of the Father is evidenced in the perfection of His reflex image, man. Ungodlike qualities such as aggressiveness, prejudice, hatred, and revenge are therefore unmanlike qualities, and man cannot express them. With this reasoning, it's clear that the derivative (man) cannot incorporate anything not inherent in the antecedent (God). Man is only what God made him to be, nothing more nor less.

In the midst of these world conflicts, where, then, are the children of God's creating? Right where material sense claims that the aggressor, the hostile neighbor, the church committee combatant, seem to be, God's man remains to be discerned. With this Christly view of man comes the benediction, "Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night." Rev. 12:10;

Our role in world peace is plain. We can replace the aggressive illusion of material man with the truth of God's man. We can resolve to see and acknowledge only the likeness of God—to see only good. In addition, we can exemplify the Christly man by eliminating strife, conflict, and aggressive tendencies from our own life. And perhaps it would be well to ask ourselves occasionally, "Am I contributing to world peace by offering a life that is free of conflict?"

Mrs. Eddy explains: "The millennium is a state and stage of mental advancement, going on since ever time was. Its impetus, accelerated by the advent of Christian Science, is marked, and will increase till all men shall know Him (divine Love) from the least to the greatest, and one God and the brotherhood of man shall be known and acknowledged throughout the earth." The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, pp. 239-240.

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