Ishmael and Isaac

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

God preserved Ishmael. Envy sent him and Hagar, his mother, into the desert, and their death was expected. But there was practical spiritual intervention, and their lives were preserved.

The division between Arab and Jew is traditionally traced to these half-brothers' forced separation in the desert. Sarah, driven by fear for the status of her son Isaac, demanded that Ishmael and his mother Hagar be banished. Abraham, father of both sons, consented. Hagar, with a mother's prayer, saved herself and her son. And God provided that a great nation would grow from Ishmael. And, likewise, according to promise, a great nation grew from Isaac.

As this is written, hearts all over the world are full of tense hope over the Holy Land, Palestine, Jerusalem. Is there some solution to this rift from long ago that we have overlooked all these centuries? Is there something more that must be known and understood about that complex land and the legacy left by the brothers? There is urgent need. Please, no more killing, no more vengeance, no more grief.

The rupturing of brotherhood in the desert thousands of years ago has come to a time ripe for healing.

So, what is the fundamental foundation for healing among nations? God. The worship of God. Most of the world worships one God - whatever the heart's form of that worship. The unity of humankind rests on this worship of God, and rests there with trust, hope, faith, and expectation. The founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, who actively pursued the worship of God in the interest of peace, wrote in her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures": With one Father, even God, the whole family of man would be brethren; and with one Mind and that God, or good, the brotherhood of man would consist of Love and Truth, and have unity of Principle and spiritual power which constitute divine Science (pgs. 469-470).

Ishmael and Isaac, according to the account of their lives in Genesis, were together when they buried their father Abraham. Today their descendants bury their dead separately, and they mourn separately. But their grief is the same. The ideas needed to halt grief and the killing that causes it, to provide for home and nationhood for all the people of the Holy Land, are more to be found in spiritual, God-inspired means than in political posturing. Political factors beg for resolution, and the strongest lever to political progress is turning wholeheartedly to the love and principle of the one God, the Father and Mother of all of us.

Politics is not unamenable to spiritual impulse and inspiration. The right ideas for administration and responsibility and for collective and individual rights are present now in Mind, God. The political skills, lifted by spiritual acumen, are at hand to guide leaders and to pierce through pride to save children and their mothers and fathers and grandparents, and all the descendants of Ishmael and Isaac.

For 92 years, this newspaper has recorded humanity's efforts to govern itself fairly. Guided by its purpose - to bless everyone - its pages have reported the triumphant and the tragic, the inhumanities as well as the innate goodness of the people of the earth. However one comes to understand it, God governs His creation. Prayers have been uttered more times than there are grains of sand and galaxies of stars to bring that divine influence to the rescue. That means of rescue is within reach.

This newspaper will persist in its journalistic efforts and through the prayers of its staff to report on the practicality of spirituality and the usefulness of the worship of God. This newspaper and the periodicals presented by The Christian Science Publishing Society will put on record the advancing steps toward peace. And, those thought-forces that reject or resent peace will find they are exposed to the piercing clarity of God-inspired practical spirituality that changes, refines, and transforms.

Asked for today are the prayers of all our readers, and they are asked in deep respect for whatever form those prayers take. Good hearts everywhere can join in a united expectation that peace is real and war is over.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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