Peaceful protest

A protest can be 'a frank and open avowal; an assured declaration;

Seattle is playing host to the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference this week. The meeting is attracting heads of state from as many as 20 countries, and thousands of other delegates. It's a conference of worldwide significance.

At the same time, protest marches have been planned by labor, human rights, environmental, and other interests that feel opposed to the development of world trade, or at least to certain aspects of it. The main marches have been organized legally and should be orderly. But there have been threats from other protesters, some people coming from great distances and with a sinister intent to shut Seattle down for a day. There have been threats of riots and of the use of gas.

This situation offers an urgent opportunity for healing. Disruption need not happen. And you and I can make a major contribution to a peaceful outcome through prayer.

Prayer brings evidence of the power of the one supremely good, universal Mind, which governs all - God. We can pray by acknowledging that the divine Mind is the only Mind there really is. And that it is the actual Mind, the actual God, of everyone.

This is a fundamental, spiritual truth that cuts through the conventional wisdom that there are millions of separate, independent, selfish minds with divisive interests.

Protest is usually about being against something someone disagrees with. But the word is also positively defined as "a frank and open avowal; an assured declaration; assertion; affirmation."

It is this sort of protest that was basic to Jesus' prayers, which the founder of the Monitor once described as "deep and conscientious protests of Truth, - of man's likeness to God and of man's unity with Truth and Love" (Mary Baker Eddy, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 12).

Truth and Love are biblical names for God. So Jesus' "protests of Truth" were strong affirmations of God, and of each individual's unity with God. When prayer involves this sort of affirmation, it gives us a basis for protesting against all the things in the world that deny the power of good over evil - against whatever shatters harmony and disrupts unity among God's people.

Divergent interests need not be conflicting interests. If there is an element of good in them, they in some degree reflect the infinite good that is God. For instance, environmental interests concerned with keeping the air, land, and water unpolluted, and with preserving endangered species and their habitats, are vital to the quality of life on this planet. Likewise, labor interests are also right - people need jobs and job security. Employment and stability are emphatically good concepts; world trade is an important factor in keeping businesses growing and flourishing, thus providing more jobs.

It's a higher, God-based view of trade, business, employment, the environment, and so on, that can help to bring about adjustments and reconciliation instead of opposition and conflict. Prayer makes protests against such elements as greed, selfishness, fear, narrowness of viewpoint, divisiveness, isolationism, anger, frustration - none of which have a place in God's creation. Prayer protests for the unity and infinitude of the divine Mind in order that it be expressed by us in such qualities as breadth of vision, generosity, adaptability, foresight, wisdom, intelligence, the willingness to reconcile diverse interests, and a basic desire to harmonize and unify.

No matter how impressive they seem, violent threats actually have no power against the irresistible, all-powerful government of the one supreme Mind. The more we recognize this, the more we can see them simply fade into oblivion.

Prayer is very much an activity of affirming facts about God, acknowledging that everyone, everywhere, is in fact an intelligent, beloved idea of the divine Mind. This higher view of each other uplifts everyone. "The cement of a higher humanity will unite all interests in the one divinity" (Science and Health, pg. 571).

You can read other articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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