Nobody wants to be a refugee. The sadness, stress, and often terrible physical discomfort involved in running for your life are not part of a job description that anyone would aspire to. Often, when the shooting starts, people just run as far and as fast as they can, never knowing what happened to loved ones left behind; the family home or the familiar network of relatives, friends, and work.
A few find resettlement in Western countries after a few years. But even there it's not all roses. They find themselves in harsh climates, immersed in difficult language environments, surrounded by frightening people who have incomprehensible customs and who look so different.
Many times these refugees find open hands and hearts in their new communities; they learn new job skills, new languages, and they become productive members of their new societies. But, as we read in recent news reports from many cities in the West, they sometimes find a minority of people who are implacably hostile. Too often the hostility is racial, and it's particularly insidious when it's based on religious convictions of racial superiority.
These convictions are phony. They have neither biblical nor koranic foundation. For example, Sura II of the Koran reads, "Unto Allah belong the East and the West, and whithersoever ye turn, there is Allah's countenance. Lo! Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing" (The Cow, v. 115).
Similarly, Christians and Jews come together in recognizing the all-embracing nature of God, as expressed in the book of Psalms in the Bible, "All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name" (Ps. 86:9). No nation, no ethnicity, no race, no community is left out of God's all-embracing nature. A belief system that tries to propound racial superiority is not just cruelly divisive; it also denies the nature of God.
About 70 years ago when my mother was a young girl, she was on a trip with her parents. It was late at night, and they were driving in a rural area far from home. When they came over a hill, they suddenly met face to face with a group of men, hooded in white and carrying a burning cross. They were "night riders" of the Ku Klux Klan, out to terrorize (or perhaps to do worse harm).
My grandfather had come to the United States as a young teenager, alone, after his family had fallen apart. He was of an ethnic group and culture despised by these people, who claimed divine authority for their wicked intent and actions. Mother told me later that her father was very frightened because he thought they were coming for him. She also told me that she and her mother prayed to God for protection. As it turned out, they all escaped harm and were able to continue on their way.
The experience, however, made a deep and lasting impression on my mother, who instinctively realized both the presence of an infinitely loving God and the inescapable brotherhood of man. In her own quiet way, she spent the rest of her life refuting racism and affirming the dignity and validity of all with whom she came in contact.
Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this newspaper, saw the infinite all- encompassing nature of God, and wrote about it in her major work, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." She said, "From the infinite elements of the one Mind emanate all form, color, quality, and quantity, and these are mental, both primarily and secondarily" (pg. 512).
Color is a quality of infinite Mind, or God. God includes all His ideas in colorful infinitude. Recognizing the all- including, all-encompassing God, then, means that we cannot see another person as an "other," an alien, a despised foreigner, someone outside God's creation. God's infinite nature, which includes all colors, means that any conviction of racial supremacy, no matter how entrenched, is as false as a conviction that the world is flat or that the moon is made of green cheese.
The light of God, which includes and harmonizes all colors, can shine from everyone's heart, and prayer helps that light to dawn. Both newly arrived refugees and well-established townspeople will benefit from this prayer of light, will be able to work out their differences and accommodate and appreciate one another, recognizing with joy God's infinite diversity.