Holy wars

Some of the most unholy acts have been committed in the name of God. Not surprisingly, then, some say religion isn't sacred at all; it's just another political ideology fueling another warring faction. Even the believer may at times wonder if faith in God is enough to heal the deep divisions in our world and prove the power of God.

Yet it's obvious the great prophets didn't use secular power to prove God's power. When faced with a Syrian army, the prophet Elisha gave dramatic evidence of God's power, but he didn't use political or military might. And in raising the Shunammite's dead son, Elisha showed that, unlike human power, God's power is unlimited. n1

n1 See II Kings 6:8-23 and 4:8-37.

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Elisha's healing of Naaman, a Syrian commander, is pertinent. n2 Naaman was a leper. The king of Syria, hearing that someone in Samaria could heal leprosy, asked the king of Israel to heal the captain. The king of Israel knew he couldn't heal Naaman. But Elisha told the king to send Naaman to him.

n2 See II Kings 5:1-14.

Naaman arrived with a fanfare. But Elisha wouldn't meet with him. Instead he sent a servant with this message: Go wash seven times in the river Jordan, and you'll be healed.

The demand was symbolic. Just washing in the Jordan wouldn't heal him. Was Elisha trying to humiliate Naaman or get revenge on the Syrians? No. Could it be that the whole process Naaman and Elisha went through signaled an indispensable element in true religion and in healing? This element is the need to yield - not to a king, a military hero, or even a prophet, but to God.

When Naaman yielded, he was healed. But Elisha must have yielded, too. If he had been relying on some personal or ecclesiastical power, he couldn't have helped Naaman. Both men had to yield to the one God, who heals.

The individual and international healing needed today also comes through yielding, not so much to each other's demands but to God's. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, provided unique insights into the practical effects of spirituality. She writes, ''One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, 'Love thy neighbor as thyself;' annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry, - whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed.'' n3

n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 340.

Human power and human intellect, proudly presuming their own superiority, are really too shortsighted to bring unity of heart and purpose to our world. Only the divine influence - the universal, healing Christ - with its fresh impulse of spiritual guidance and divine energy, can help. This influence becomes more apparent when we acknowledge that law and government belong to God, not to any sect. And God's government is merciful as well as just.

One God means one all-inclusive family of man. Each individual in this family is, in reality, completely spiritual, Godlike, and cherished. This spirituality is our birthright. But we gain the blessings of this birthright only as we recognize that it belongs to all others as well.

Yielding to the one God includes yielding up hatred, intolerance, suspicion. While this yielding may at times seem like a battle, God is working with us, showing us His oneness, His all-power, and our spiritual nature. This truly is a holy war. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ouervselves: we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. Psalm 100

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