Single prayer unites those of faith on Peace Day
Hawaii observed Peace Day on Sept. 21 in coordinated fashion with events in celebration of peace. Not the least of these activities, and perhaps the most important, was a request that all citizens and churches join in a moment of Prayer for Peace at a specific time that day and to include the prayer in their weekend services as well.
I'm always touched when citizens are officially invited to pray in areas of concern to our communities, our nation, our world. This request acknowledges that prayer is effective, that God knows and hears our needs, loves us and is ready to help us in our efforts to bring about what the angels sang at Christ Jesus' birth: "on Earth peace, good will toward men."
The quest for peace cuts across all religions. Surely it is a goal that all recognize our brother-sisterhood, love one another and live together respectfully and peaceably.
As a Christian, I understand that peace is an integral part of Christianity. But in practice, and other religious groups find this as well, we don't see peace as the norm, but see the opposite all around us, on both the micro and the macro scale.
With the opportunity given us now to think about and pray for peace, each of us might consider, "How can this turmoil be? When will we trade in our swords for pruning hooks and bring in the harvest of peace?"
Mary Baker Eddy had much insight into this and other religious questions. Coupled with her deep spirituality was a great deal of wisdom and no small amount of wit. Her writings deal with religious issues of the deepest nature, many of which would relate to the ideal of peace, but a couple of her more simple statements have taught me a lot on the subject as well. To most of you, they'll sound just like common sense. Practiced, the world would be a different place.
On her view of other religions, Eddy said, "I love the prosperity of Zion, be it promoted by Catholic, by Protestant or by Christian Science. I would no more quarrel with a man because of his religion than I would because of his art."
Her next idea is almost an axiom in my book: "When a man begins to quarrel with himself, he stops quarreling with others." Would that we all give thought to such practical advice. Eddy knew that most of us need deeper self-examination, less scrutiny of our fellow man and a closer walk in harmony with our Maker.
As we make this effort, supported by a unified prayerful desire to be better peace-finders and peacemakers, avenues for peace will open in individual lives, in families, communities and the world. Then, won't we have something to celebrate, some concrete results to report, when Hawaii Peace Day rolls around again next year?
Virginia Aycock is a member of the Christian Science Committee on Publication for Hawaii.