Why Use the Term Christic Peace?

Modernity, with its idols of wealth, power, science and advanced technology on the one hand, and individualism and permissiveness on the other, seem incapable of delivering peace and happiness. Nonetheless, the desire for something better, something authentic, persists.

Among those who dream of peace on earth, some do not believe either in the supernatural or in an after-life, and may even be skeptical about religion. Others believe in both, and take religion seriously. Despite their differences, both groups subscribe to ideals and values that are grounded in religious faith, whether this be admitted or not. They see that religious values and ideals offer principled and humane means for political struggle and for the resolution of conflict, and extol these.

The Christic dimension

There is something unique in the concept of peace where religious belief is explicit, and where faith is not in principle, ethic or idea, but where it is a relationship, a total trusting commitment to Some One. To those who accept this, the beginning and end of peace is God, immanent and transcendent, Creator and Goodness, to whom all owe their being and their adoration. Peace is in listening for and to God, and in echoing as societies and as individuals its password, ‘Thy will be done!’, and endeavouring to live out an unequivocal, uncompromised ‘Yes!’ to God in response. This is Christic Peace: Christic, because it was wholly exemplified in the life, death, person and teaching of Jesus Christ, and so patently in the lived fiat of Mary his mother.

The term Christic is used because the peace that many, who regard themselves as Christian, seek and practice tends to have other meanings, often culturally tempered, and removed from the Christic concept as such. Moreover, the Christic is not the monopoly of any one religion or religious denomination, although one may illuminate it more fully than another. It is the quintessence of theistic scriptures and teachings whether Hindu, Judaic, Islamic, Sikh or Baha’i, and many of its practical values and principles are paralleled in the non-theistic teachings of the Buddha. Christic peace is through entry into the dynamic partnership and co-operation with God to which all are invited.

The expression of Christic peace is ‘Shalom’: peace that embraces all dimensions of being; peace which includes health, healing transformations and relationships; new perceptions and understanding; new relationships with people, with our planetary milieu, and above all with God. This requires an awakening, an eager searching and a growing, a new way of seeing and fresh commitment; a relinquishing of whatever stands in the way, a turning away from the seduction of selfishness in its myriad forms. It calls for integrity, a new way of being. It is not peace as the ‘world’ (that which claims to be without or acts as though there isn’t any need of God) gives, but is far richer and more comprehensive.

Christic Peace bestows what other types of peace cannot. Not only does it liberate, starting from within, from all that enslaves and dehumanises, but it vests even the darkest darkness with light, bringing hope and meaning to areas and situations that often occasion bitterness, despair or hurt silence, as where there is sickness, pain and suffering, privation, neglect, abandonment, powerlessness, failure and death. Christic Peace brings vision, expectancy, strength, endurance and courage, even in the face of human frailty itself. It shuns all retaliation and recourse to strategies of power and manipulation. Instead, it consists in and offers forgiveness, love, even unilateral love of enemy, and through these, healing and healed relationships, as the only way in which the otherwise inevitable cycle of violence may be broken.

Its values are timeless. Its fruits are integrity, wholeness and holiness, which displace inner discord and fragmentation, dishonesty, dualisms and compromises with whatever is false. It renders explicit the idea that truth as an abstract concept and non-violence as a virtue make sense only where there is acknowledgement of a Supreme Reality and the spiritual principle in the human.

This perspective brings with it the realisation that the opposite of peace is not war or violence, which are only symptoms of a deeper disorder. The opposite is sin, personal and social, the outcome of the conscious or unwitting ‘No’ to God, and ‘Yes’ to someone or something else. The term, sin, is unpalatable and not usually used in polite circles or in academic discussion. Nor is it politically correct to talk about sin in this so-called post-modern age, where morality is relative and society permissive. Indeed, many who speak in the name of religion prefer not to talk about sin either. Even some who call themselves Christian try not to bring sin into their thinking or into their behaviour or into their discussions, or they anaesthetise the word, using euphemisms instead, just as the hawks of the Cold War did to render their nuclear weapons, strategies and policies seem less deadly, less omnicidal. Indeed, a prime characteristic of society today is its loss of the sense of sin.

Sin, in the present context, is where primacy is accorded and preference shown the created (usually self, in either its personal or collective guise) instead of the Creator. This option is commonly exercised in the quest of what is perceived to be ‘good’, desirable or expedient, and not necessarily due to a perverse preference for evil as such. It may be the result of ignorance or pseudo-innocence, or it may stem from the confusion and stunting caused by the human refusal to seek, to learn, to change and to grow. A result is to miss one’s mark, to head in the wrong direction. Sin permeates and pervades human organisation and most human endeavour. At base, it is rooted in egoism and pride, and results in the cry of primeval rebellion, “I shall not serve!”, “I will not obey!”, “Me, rather than Thee.”

The search for Christic Peace requires a profound turn-around from the persistent clamour emanating from self in its pride, selfishness and wilfulness. This includes the rejection of strategies of any sort that put the designs of the personal or the collective self ahead of the trusting ‘Amen!’ For, where preference is accorded self, however effectively this may be disguised, even in the name of justice, human rights, piety or prayer, there invariably is an attempt to side-step the will of God, to bend God to my will, to have ‘God in my pocket’. No more is God the One upon and in Whom our being must be centred if we are to be at peace, the One to whom total fealty and loving obedience are both due and natural.

In the Christic context, peace on earth is a long-term project, a coming and a becoming, contingent upon the individual and society moving from ‘No’ towards ‘Yes’ to God. Through openness to God, and through placing God above and before all else comes peace, the concomitant of such dynamic self-giving and partnership. This is the only authentic road to peace. Unless we choose to journey along it, peace will remain only a dream, at best a caricature.