October 11, 2001
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
As indicated by our focus statement, we wanted our investigation of war to arrive at some healing insights. If war is the "greatest wrong" imaginable, what "highest right" does it mimic? That was too big a leap for one bound, but we did sneak up on a few answers.
War, from a root meaning to confuse or mix up, disrupts routines and breaks up rigidities. It certainly brings us face to face with the ultimate issues of human life. We thought it could be seen in Science as a demand for clearer vision.
In the present case, it seems almost like a collision of galaxies, each representing a very different culture and outlook on life. New syntheses will occur as one infinite Mind encompassing all asserts its dominion. It's counterproductive to pine away for conditions on September 10th. We're on to a New World.
Holy War, known in Arabic as Jihad, is principally seen among the spiritually enlightened as an inner struggle with one's own demons. Of course, we all have a tendency to act out our pain as we look to others as the cause. Groups and nations do it too and the results are murderous destruction, deprivation of rights and much illusion of peace, peace where there is none.
There is evidence that individuals and groups are using the current crisis for spiritual growth and practice of the Golden Rule. For instance, citizens of the US are questioning our policies in Palestine, Iraq, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Some members, as well as New Yorkers and Americans in general, seem more subdued and reflective, more prone to deeper questioning.
Fundamentalist religious practices based on literal, political readings of Islamic, Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist texts are being debunked. Perhaps new mythopoetic visions will emerge from the rubble to give adherents something of value to work with.
Members discussed some experiences whose underlying principles could be put to use in addressing war.
1) One member visited "Ground Zero" during the week and came away distraught over the magnitude and ugliness of the scene. The words "hideous forms" came to him and he later found them to be part of a powerful statement on page 248 of Science and Health regarding "Mental sculpture" and "Perfect models", as the side bars read. He is using techniques embodied in this passage not only to rebuild his conception of New York but to achieve greater spiritual understanding generally. Others felt it could also be pressed to the front in our holy war or jihad to preserve and uplift human life.
2) Another member described a self-help method he has used to prepare for difficult undertakings like job interviews. He sits quietly before the activity is to occur and visualizes harmonious, calm, intelligent and successful outcomes for all matters of concern.
3) Another member who conducts orchestras confirmed he practices something like this technique in preparing a musical performance. Here there seems to develop an almost mystical bond between leader and players, where one Mind could be said to take over and run the show.
4) The foregoing three examples, we felt, could be expanded to nerve our work in Science regarding the belief in war. Thus, we could quietly access Mind's model of peaceful progress towards the oneness counterfeited by war. "There should be painless progress attended by life and peace instead of discord and death." (Science and Health, p. 224: 8-10)
5) The work of healing war can be done by one or many. We marveled at the implications of Mrs. Eddy's discernment of the power of one's scientific prayer (see the readings, Pulpit And Press, p. 4: 7-17).
6) Members reported some healings which could be stretched a bit to cover aspects of war. The member who decided last week to pursue re-igniting a family relationship long dormant has received a response to his letter. Maybe it wasn't all he might have hoped for, but they're writing and expressing and even ending with the "L" word. He also accomplished a breakthrough in his postal service after a year of patient work with his postmaster. Another member expressed gratitude for overcoming suicidal thoughts by living his innate innocence as put forward in Christian Science. Finally, another said she was not concerned about anthrax — her worry capacity was tied up on other matters just now.
We finished the meeting with five minutes of silent prayer and a reading of the last verse of hymn 179 in the Christian Science Hymnal.
Many of our group are going to the Emergence Conference in Key West next week. We'll take up a two week topic — this time, Peace — for prayerful study. Notes will be posted after the meeting of October 25th, but there will be a meeting next week October 18th.
But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:
Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
Love and Truth are not at war with God's image and likeness.
The suppositional warfare between truth and error is only the mental conflict between the evidence of the spiritual senses and the testimony of the material senses, and this warfare between the Spirit and flesh will settle all questions through faith in and the understanding of divine Love.
This material world is even now becoming the arena for conflicting forces. On one side there will be discord and dismay; on the other side there will be Science and peace. The breaking up of material beliefs may seem to be famine and pestilence, want and woe, sin, sickness, and death, which assume new phases until their nothingness appears. These disturbances will continue until the end of error, when all discord will be swallowed up in spiritual Truth.
During this final conflict, wicked minds will endeavor to find means by which to accomplish more evil; but those who discern Christian Science will hold crime in check. They will aid in the ejection of error. They will maintain law and order, and cheerfully await the certainty of ultimate perfection.
Science reverses the false testimony of the physical senses, and by this reversal mortals arrive at the fundamental facts of being.
The sculptor turns from the marble to his model in order to perfect his conception. We are all sculptors, working at various forms, moulding and chiseling thought. What is the model before mortal mind? Is it imperfection, joy, sorrow, sin, suffering? Have you accepted the mortal model? Are you reproducing it? Then you are haunted in your work by vicious sculptors and hideous forms. Do you not hear from all mankind of the imperfect model? The world is holding it before your gaze continually. The result is that you are liable to follow those lower patterns, limit your life-work, and adopt into your experience the angular outline and deformity of matter models.
To remedy this, we must first turn our gaze in the right direction, and then walk that way. We must form perfect models in thought and look at them continually, or we shall never carve them out in grand and noble lives. Let unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love—the kingdom of heaven—reign within us, and sin, disease, and death will diminish until they finally disappear.
Be of good cheer; the warfare with one's self is grand; it gives one plenty of employment, and the divine Principle worketh with you,—and obedience crowns persistent effort with everlasting victory.
Is not a man metaphysically and mathematically number one, a unit, and therefore whole number, governed and protected by his divine Principle, God? 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. A dewdrop reflects the sun. Each of Christ's little ones reflects the infinite One, and therefore is the seer's declaration true, that "one on God's side is a majority."
"HEAR, O ISRAEL: THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD"
I now request that the members of my church cease special prayer for the peace of nations, and cease in full faith that God does not hear our prayers only because of oft speaking, but that He will bless all the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay His hand nor say unto Him, What doest Thou? Out of His allness He must bless all with His own truth and love. MARY BAKER EDDY
Pleasant View, Concord, N. H., June 27, 1905 [Christian Science Sentinel, July 22, 1905]
In no way nor manner did I request my church to cease praying for the peace of nations, but simply to pause in special prayer for peace. And why this asking? Because a spiritual foresight of the nations' drama presented itself and awakened a wiser want, even to know how to pray other than the daily prayer of my church,—"Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."
I cited, as our present need, faith in God's disposal of events. Faith full-fledged, soaring to the Horeb height, brings blessings infinite, and the spirit of this orison is the fruit of rightness,—"on earth peace, good will toward men." On this basis the brotherhood of all peoples is established; namely, one God, one Mind, and "Love thy neighbor as thyself," the basis on which and by which the infinite God, good, the Father-Mother Love, is ours and we are His in divine Science.