You'd have to know how close the three of us are - standing by each other constantly in our work on a project we dearly love - to understand how we felt that December night in a city on the other side of the world.
It had been a long day of travel through beautiful countryside - from lush tropics to a modern megalopolis to our final destination. We were all tired. Suddenly one of us (I honestly don't remember who) said something thoughtless. Then there was a comeback that was equally thoughtless. And within seconds - right there in the glow of the twinkling Christmas tree in the hotel lobby - we were all arguing with each other.
As I headed back to my room to change clothes before the first meeting, I felt heartsick. And for the first time in many weeks of traveling, I felt alone.
I asked myself: How could this conference, which we'd traveled halfway around the world to attend together, be anything less than a disaster now? How could we possibly set aside the foolish things that had just happened? How could we get back to the vision - and the mutual love - that we'd always shared?
The answer to these questions came in one word: God. Obviously, my friends and I - on our own - weren't capable right then of anything but making the situation worse. We'd proved that out in the lobby! But with God ... the impossible is possible. The foolish is forgotten. The unforgivable is already forgiven. Because God - and the flawless spiritual universe He/She made - is all there is. God is the only One. The totally good One. The one One.
The truth is, God doesn't know anything but His/Her oneness and goodness. So, I thought to myself, why should I? Why should my friends? Why should anybody?
What I was starting to see was that this irreducible unity of God isn't something esoteric out there. It's right here. It's everywhere. It's wherever you and I are - in Indonesia or Russia or Zimbabwe or the United States. All of us are in God's oneness, always.
This is actually one of the most important things Jesus taught his followers. "I and my Father are one," he said. And he told his followers that they were one with God, too. What's more, they were one with each other! "I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one," he confided to God (John 10:30; 17:23).
But I couldn't just stay in my room and think these nice thoughts about oneness. I had to act on them. That's what the Science of Christianity demands: that we act on what we believe in. That we prove that Truth is true. It's a Science that helps us make our thoughts and actions consistent. It shows us how natural it is to image back the completely unified nature of our Maker.
"Unity is the essential nature of Christian Science," Mary Baker Eddy wrote. "Its Principle is One, and to demonstrate the divine One, demands oneness of thought and action" ("Miscellaneous Writings," pg. 264).
Now, here's the amazing thing. My two friends had almost exactly the same thoughts I did that night! Within hours, we forgave each other and united our spiritual energies in the work we love. The conference was a total success.
There's a final piece to this story, though. When our hosts gave us a tour of their city, they showed us how the main street is laid out in a straight line. The key governmental buildings and places of worship are all lined up there, too. Anywhere along the street, you can see clear through from one end of the city to the other. It's all a giant symbol for something the people of that culture believe in deeply: "Oneness of God and the people."
Well, we believed in it, too! After all, God had taught us a lot about oneness in that very city, so far from home.
Oh that I knew where I might
find him! that I might come
even to his seat! I would order
my cause before him, and fill
my mouth with arguments....
But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.
Job 23:3, 4, 13