WHEN I was a boy growing up in Scotland, I went to a Protestant school. Down the road was another school, also full of boys. It was a Catholic school. From time to time we boys met and had fights. We didn't know each other, but we fought because of a tradition that said Catholics and Protestants were supposed to fight.
It was stupid.
It is still stupid. The violence between warring religious factions doesn't make sense. But what can we do about it?
One intelligent thing we can do is pray. Prayer heals, when it is genuine prayer. If you and I are prepared to commit ourselves to a genuine, heartfelt protest of Truth and Love, we can set in motion a spiritual activity that can stop religious hate and violence.
But to pray in a way that heals, we have to let our deepest spiritual desires be attuned to absolute Truth, Life, and Love -- to God. There is one God. And God is Love, as Christ Jesus demonstrated by the love he lived.
Christianity began with the teachings and demonstrations of Christ Jesus, and Jesus urged this commandment: ``That ye love one another.'' The religion founded by Christ Jesus is a religion of Love. There is no hate in genuine Christianity. There is only the spirit of divine Love.
When we uphold the spirit of Christianity by acknowledging that there is one all-loving God, and when we respond to God, to divine Love, with a sincere desire to love our neighbor as ourselves in the way Jesus responded to Truth and Love, we pray effectively.
Robert Burns, the Scottish poet, wasn't noted for being a religious man, but he was honest and sincere in his love for humanity. He wrote in ``A Man's a Man for a' That'':
Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a' that,) That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree [preeminence], an' a' that. For a' that, an a' that,
It's comin yet for a' that, The Man to Man, the world o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that.
Universal brotherhood, and sisterhood, are a vision we can all share. To make the vision tangible is where prayer comes in. Our prayers should be, first of all, for ourselves. We should pray for the spirit of Truth and Love to permeate our own individual thinking. Then we can help others.
By letting the spirit of Truth and Love dissolve ungodliness in our own thinking, we are able to see spiritually the true identity of everyone -- every man, woman, and child.
The Bible tells us that God made man in His image and likeness, and that God is Spirit. The true idea of man -- the idea that includes all men, women, and children -- is spiritual, not material. The true nature of every man, woman, and child is a reflection of God. Your true nature and my true nature are Godlike. We reflect the kindly qualities of divine Love.
The resentments that fuel religious feuding do not stem from Truth and Love. They do not stem from God. They do not stem from man made in God's likeness. They have no authority from the Bible. They are no more than a mesmeric sense of evil. By registering our mental and spiritual protest of Truth and Love for all mankind, through prayer, we can begin to break the mesmerism of resentment, and of self-righteous blaming.
God is the only cause and creator. God does not cause affliction, nor does God, divine Love, hold any sense of blaming.
Christianity revealed the true nature of God, and of man in God's likeness, and that revelation hasn't changed. God is still the all-loving Father-Mother of us all. There is no cause for conflict between Christians, or between Christians and people of other religions, because Love is the universal, divine Principle. Love is the Principle governing and guiding each of us. There is one God, and the one God is Love, irrespective of race, nation, or religion.
This truth is fundamental to Christianity and to all Christian practice. It is the basis for prayerful protest in the way Jesus protested. Jesus' humble prayers, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, has pointed out in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``were deep and conscientious protests of Truth, -- of man's likeness to God and of man's unity with Truth and Love.''
We may have lived or be living through oppression and lack or the pangs of envy and greed. But we can be thankful that we can do as the great Master did. We can lift our outlook, spiritually, to the freedom and abundance of God's creation.
With the spirit of freedom and Love in our hearts and minds, you and I can liberate ourselves, and help to liberate all mankind.
Our prayer of Love and freedom can make a powerful protest. BIBLE VERSE Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. Matthew 5:43, 44