LITERALLY for centuries people around the world have believed that the ocean was a huge reservoir of food that could also be used as a major garbage dump. As population has increased, so has the pressure on the waters that make Earth shine like a blue jewel when viewed from space.
Disasters, such as oil spills when tankers are damaged by heavy seas or human error, emphasize the need for more wisdom in our attitudes toward the oceans. One specific way to tackle this problem could be to press for stricter regulations and technical improvements. But our oceans need healing right now.
There is a way to bring the universal power of good to bear on the need for pure oceans--prayer. Through it we gain inspiration about steps we can take right in our own lives to purify our environment--including the oceans--and also a clearer understanding of our unbreakable relationship to God. What does God have to do with the environment? Over and over again the Bible emphasized that to live in harmony with God's law and His purpose is the key to abundance, beauty, and peace.
God's environment is good, spir-itual, and pure because it is the at-mosphere of Spirit, which is infinite. And it is, in fact, where each of us dwells. Therefore man's true being --yours and mine--is actually spir-itual and complete in God, divine Mind. As the Psalmist put it: ``The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods." This may sound pretty far from the polluted beaches and oil-sca rred landscapes we hear so much about. And it is. But our prayers can help us experience the Bible's vision of purity and abundance. Here's how.
Through prayer we can affirm our relationship to God, divine Mind, as spiritual ideas in this Mind. Spiritual ideas can know and express only good--intelligence, love, purity, wisdom, tenderness. Mortal elements such as greed, selfishness, carelessness, and ignorance are no part of God's spiritual ideas. So when we affirm that we belong to Him, we are accepting the responsibility to be who we really are--intelligent and loving beings who cannot pollute or be polluted by mortal, or carnal, attributes. Pra ying along these lines enables us to follow in Christ Jesus' footsteps, bringing healing to the earth.
We too can find it natural to turn to God when we need to make decisions. Instead of shortsighted or self-serving solutions, we begin to look at the progressive good that can bless everyone, including ourselves. This shift in priorities gives us a richer spiritual perspective and also reveals God as a present help for all humanity. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, speaks of this in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She says: ``The necessity for uplifting the race is f ather to the fact that Mind can do it; for Mind can impart purity instead of impurity, strength instead of weakness, and health instead of disease. Truth is an alterative in the entire system, and can make it `every whit whole.'"
In our prayers for our world, then, we can affirm Mind's presence everywhere, bestowing intelligence, insight, and inspiration. As we do this, we are better able to understand the reality of spiritual creation and our role in it. This may lead us toward environmental activism--or we may simply find new ways to illustrate the harmony and integrity that are natural to God's creation. A permanent change in society's attitude toward the oceans may not come all at once. But our prayers are like the tides that
keep working steadily and tirelessly. As we persist, we will see the tides turn--from the iridescent sheen of polluted waters to the truly shining seas created by infinite Spirit.