Homeland for Israel's displaced settlers

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

As a homeowner myself, I've felt compassion for people in Israel's occupied territories who are being forced to leave their homes.

Certainly, clearing the settlements is a courageous move, designed to break down some of the points that have been dividing the Palestinians and the Jews.

Still, the issue of home and homelands is a powerful, underlying concern that affects peace efforts not just in the Middle East but in other parts of the world as well.

Israel's view of history is inextricably linked to the spiritual journey of the Israelites to the Promised Land under Moses' guidance. Wars were fought and sacrifices made to establish a secure homeland. That history influences people's views today.

On the surface it may look as if there will never be enough land or security to meet everyone's needs.

But a deeper examination reveals another perspective.

One thing that inspires my prayers for the Middle East is the knowledge that the God of Abraham and of Jesus is really only one God, Spirit, and this divine Mind is the only Mind perceiving creation. This Mind unites; it never divides.

In order to perceive the unity that comes through listening for Mind's guidance, it's important to think in spiritual terms - to recognize that the Israelites' journey in the wilderness was a spiritual one, a time for getting to know and understand the one God more fully and for learning to obey divine guidance.

This learning can transcend the rigid positions that politics and history seem to be forcing on the various parties and lift them to a higher spiritual understanding.

In his book "Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy," Irving Tomlinson described a time when Mrs. Eddy spoke of what she perceived as the spiritual nature of home. She said: "Home is not a place but a power. We find home when we arrive at the full understanding of God."

Then, to understand the spiritual nature of home is to understand that what God gives isn't merely material property but the spiritual elements that enable one to feel "at home" wherever one is. To translate one's home into spiritual qualities - love, beauty, peace, goodness, and fellowship - is to have a home that can never be under attack, never be taken away, never be destroyed.

To achieve a feeling of homeland - something that transcends the average sense of home as a house or apartment, for example - it's necessary to do a larger translation - to recognize God's care for oneself and one's people throughout history, even when facing many troubles.

This recognition reveals that God's word has been a lamp, lighting the way - a way that leads not to a stronger grip on a certain piece of land but to permanent security, an established heritage that is ours forever.

Jesus said it best when he declared, "In my Father's house are many mansions.... I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2).

Ultimately, this spiritual basis for home and homeland - whether for the displaced settlers in Israel, for people affected by severe weather conditions such as hurricanes and earthquakes, or some other situation - is the one that will lead us to dwellings that are safe, satisfying, and secure.

Lord, thou hast been
our dwelling place
in all generations.
Before the mountains
were brought forth,
or ever thou hadst formed
the earth and the world,
even from everlasting
to everlasting, thou art God.

Psalms 90:1, 2

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