Kenyans are engaged in disentangling themselves from the disputed results of a presidential election that has plunged the country into uncertainty. At times the emotions from opposing camps have spilled into street protests, riots, and violence. Many have had their houses and businesses burned, others have lost their lives, and many have fled their homes, becoming refugees in their own country.
This urgent state of affairs, however, has also caused many people of goodwill inside and outside Kenya to respond with prayer and calls for peace.
I live in Kenya, and when reports of the violence in various parts of the country reached me, I, like so many others, began to pray. In fact, I called a Christian Science practitioner in Nairobi. She listened patiently, and then very tenderly asked me, "Joseph, is there anywhere where God is absent?" I answered "No." "Then know that He is in control and all is well. Continue praying and seeing that."
In my prayers I recalled many instances in the Bible where people went to a mountain to pray or seek refuge. I recalled the times when Moses went up the mountain to commune with God. Lot, too, was advised to flee to the mountain lest he perish with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. And Jesus withdrew to the mountains several times in order to pray in solitude.
In the language of the Bible, the mountain offers the opportunity to withdraw from the mesmeric hold of any problem, to see God's goodness intact, offering a more elevated view. "Lead me to the rock that is higher than I," says Psalm 61:2.
"Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy, explains that spiritually interpreted, rocks and mountains stand for solid and grand ideas. So what we actually climb when we detach ourselves from the hold of the problem at hand are not physical heights such as Mount Kenya or Mount Sinai, but mental heights.
As the situation worsened in Kenya, I needed to continually seek a higher perspective. For example, the Short Message Service, very much in vogue here, was an effective tool during the election period. But now it has become a vehicle for hate mail. So whenever I receive a hate message, I delete it and reply to the sender with a spiritual message. This takes my thought to the mountaintop.
I've also begun to see and interpret the breaking news from a higher perspective. Since in a lot of cases protesters have used fire, I looked up the word fire in the Bible and Science and Health. Several places in the Bible describe God as a consuming fire. I took this to mean that God Himself will ignite in all these places only His grand ideas. And in the Glossary of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy's spiritual interpretation of fire is described as an "affliction purifying and elevating man" (p. 586). This has helped end my worrying and established in my thought a feeling of peace that God's will must be done.
Since man is Mind's idea as explained so well in Science and Health, it follows that man, God's reflection, lives in harmony just like all God's ideas live in harmony within Mind.
I'm praying to understand better that Kenya's elected government can increasingly express the higher laws of the divine Mind – in which there is no contention or violence. The book of Revelation makes a great promise of this: "And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.… And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life" (Rev. 21:10, 25-27).