We hear much today about citizens banding together to fight crime, keeping watch over each other's homes, and in general endeavoring to get to know one another better -- all in an effort to improve neighborhoods.
Many people have found that prayer, rooted in an understanding of God, is an effective, practical help, too. Through the Bible we learn that God is supreme good, the only power, and that man is His image, perpetually reflecting Him. This understanding, applied to neighborhood problems, can help us deal with minor as well as major disturbances.
Day after day the people in our neighborhood were annoyed by the loud music coming from one house with a messy front yard. We were told by the sheriff that there was no county law that covered the noise problem, only a state law that was very hard to enforce. Nevertheless, I realized there was something I could do to help in this situation. I could pray.
I gratefully acknowledged in prayer that the law of God is supreme. This divine law is impartial and blesses all. I didn't pray for the people to suddenly move away or for the radio to break down. That would be interfering with the natural operation of divine law by imposing my own willful view of how I thought the problem should be solved. Instead, I was praying to discern God's will better, to see divine Love in action, and to understand that all individuals are, in truth, spiritual offspring of Love, of the one God. Shortly , the music stopped, but later that night it came on again-louder than ever! I realized there was more praying to do.
The word ''amplify'' came to thought, and I had to laugh. But I knew this was an answer to prayer, so I looked up the word in a dictionary and found that it means to expand, to make larger. Some words from a hymn also came to mind: All perfect gifts are from above, And all our blessings show The amplitude of God's dear love Which every heart may know.n1
n1 Christian Science Hymnal, No. 342.
So, my job was to expand, or amplify, my concept of ''God's dear love'' by realizing that it included not only my family and my irritated friends who lived in the area, but also our noisy neighbors. After all, didn't Christ Jesus say, ''Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself''?n2 Here was an opportunity to prove the truth of man's being as the very outcome of Love and to bring genuine healing to all concerned.
n2 Matthew 19:19.
Another member of my family who was also praying about the situation opened her Bible to the book of Revelation and read about St. John's vision of the holy city, New Jerusalem. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says of the holy city, ''Its gates open towards light and glory both within and without, for all is good, and nothing can enter that city, which 'defileth, . . . or maketh a lie.' ''n3
n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 577.
We realized that we could think of our neighborhood in this way, too -- elevate our concept of it, our view of its inhabitants. Nothing can enter it, we realized, that isn't from God, that isn't good - no noise pollution, inconsideration, or anger. The spiritual fact is that God is in control of His creation. He governs all in perfect harmony. We stayed with these thoughts until we felt at peace.
At about midnight the music finally stopped . . . and hasn't been heard since! Also, the people have built storage sheds in their backyard and are cleaning up the front. Through the recognition of Love's supremacy the problem was resolved in a way that benefited all, including the difficult neighbors.
If our harmony is invaded by discordant conditions, we don't have to get upset or submissively grin and bear them. We can remember to amplify our concept of God's always-available love and tender care. He is the only power, and this supreme power is continually active in the small as well as the larger areas of our lives.
As we acknowledge this truth and persist in it, our days will increasingly be filled, not with petty annoyances or interfering clamor, but with an expanded sense of serenity and good will. DAILY BIBLE VERSE . . .whatsoever things are of good report;. . . think on these things. Philippians 4:8