"Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me."
These words to a popular spiritual song help us recognize where responsibility lies ... inside each of us ... not out in the world relying on American or foreign political leaders, or even the United Nations.
The egos of political leaders create war, and everytime war is started so-called "peaceniks" take to the streets screaming and shouting for peace, often becoming violent and destroying property or hurting those who try to keep the peace. Such peace demonstrators are at war inside themselves, experiencing conflict. And because we all teach what we are, "peaceniks" teach war to the world.
Meanwhile, somewhere in remote Kansas sitting on a front porch gently swaying in her rocking chair a little old lady gently places down her Bible and begins singing softly of God. There is no war or conflict inside of her. It is she who teaches peace to the world.
Here is how Jesus addresses peace demonstrators in his revelation for the 21st Century, A Course in Miracles:
"The first obstacle that peace must flow across is YOUR desire to get RID of it. For it cannot extend, UNLESS you keep it. YOU are the center from which it radiates outward, to call the others IN. You are its home; its tranquil dwelling-place, from which it gently reaches out, but NEVER leaving YOU. If it would spread across the whole creation, it MUST begin with you. And, FROM you, reach to everyone who calls, and bring him rest by JOINING you." (ACIM Chap. 19)
"If you WANT peace, you MUST give up the IDEA of conflict ENTIRELY, and for ALL TIME." (ACIM Chap. 7)
We know most political advocates for peace are well-meaning. And we know Jesus would not leave them comfortless. He teaches them if they really want peace, they must follow his advice.
"If God's Will for you is complete peace and joy, unless you experience only this you MUST be refusing to acknowledge His Will. His Will does not vacillate, being changeless forever. When you are not at peace, it can only be because you do not believe you are IN HIM. Yet He is all in all. His peace IS complete, and you must be included in it. His laws govern you because they govern everything." (ACIM Chap. 8)
"As you teach so will you learn. If that is true, and it is true indeed, you must never forget that what you teach is teaching YOU. Teach attack in any form, and YOU HAVE LEARNED IT AND IT WILL HURT YOU. The only way to HAVE peace is to TEACH peace." (ACIM Chap.6)
" 'I WANT THE PEACE OF GOD.' To say these words is nothing. But to mean these words is everything. If you could but mean them for just an instant, there would be no further sorrow possible for you in any form; in any place or time. Heaven would be completely given back to full awareness, memory of God entirely restored, the resurrection of all creation fully recognized.
"No one can mean these words and not be healed. He cannot play with dreams, nor think he is himself a dream. He cannot make a hell and think it real. He wants the peace of God and it is given him. For that is all he wants, and that is all he will receive. Many have said these words. But few indeed have meant them. You have but to look upon the world you see around you to be sure how very few they are. The world would be completely changed should any two agree these words express the only thing they want." (ACIM Lesson 185)
Any peace activist who heeds the teaching of Jesus, who seriously chooses the peace of God, joins in spirit (some would say "mystically" joins) with the sweet peaceful old lady resting happily in her rocking chair. And Jesus shows them a vision:
"But see the mighty works that He will do through you, and you MUST be convinced you did them through Him. It is impossible to deny the Source of effects so powerful, they COULD not be of you. Leave room for Him, and you will find yourself so filled with power, that NOTHING will prevail against your peace. And this will be the test by which you recognize that you HAVE understood." (ACIM Chap. 14)
Finally, for any peace activist transformed into a peace creator, and for our serene little Kansas rocking chair lady, and for you and I if we are joined in committed dedication to peace, there is one more step as the vision expands into a brilliant flash of certainty:
"The peace of God is shining in you now, and from your heart extends around the world. It pauses to caress each living thing, and leave a blessing with it which remains forever and forever. What it gives must be eternal. It removes all thoughts of the ephemeral and valueless. It brings renewal to all tired hearts, and lights all vision as it passes by. All of its gifts are given everyone, and everyone unites in giving thanks to you who give and you who have received.
"The shining in your mind reminds the world of what it has forgotten, and the world restores the memory to you as well. From you salvation radiates with gifts beyond all measure, given and returned. To you, the giver of the gift, does God Himself give thanks. And in His blessing does the light in you shine brighter, adding to the gifts you have to offer to the world.
"The peace of God can never be contained. Who recognizes it within himself must give it. And the means for giving it are in his understanding. He forgives because he recognized the truth in him. The peace of God is shining in you now, and in all living things. In quietness is it acknowledged universally. For what your inward vision looks upon is your perception of the universe." (ACIM Lesson 188)
Now we no longer have to say it, or give thought to meaning it. We simply know it:
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"...nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdomLuke 17:21)
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“The peace of God is shining in me now.”