Recent news coverage of Iraq offers signs of progress: Up to 70,000 mostly Sunni volunteers have aligned themselves with the US military forces; the level of violence has been reduced; and three laws have been passed that united the three main factions – Sunni, Shiite, and Kurd – by giving each one a piece of what it most desired.
Encouraging as these signs are, our continued prayer is needed for more stability and peace. There still are plenty of insurgents who could tip the balance back toward chaos. And although those laws were passed, that happened more because each group got something it wanted, not that they have fully achieved a common vision.
One approach to prayer that unites is given in Mary Baker Eddy's book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures": "Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you. The cement of a higher humanity will unite all interests in the one divinity" (p. 571).
To embrace the Iraqi nation, and the volatile region surrounding it, with Christlike love remains a powerful antidote to the hatred that threatens to tear everything apart. Christlike love transcends personalities. Its self-giving is sourced in God, who loves His creation, including all individuals, everywhere. This love never ends. But it isn't blind love either. The pure love of Christ is so transforming that even a terrorist would be able to perceive within his or her heart that suffering and death will never be the agents of such love. Christly love represents the highest aspiration for good.
The fact is, even now, that this love is sustaining all who are looking for solutions in Iraq and those whose lives have been disrupted in unimaginable ways. What holds them together as a nation and a government is "the cement of a higher humanity," a bond that is greatly needed in our world. This higher humanity encompasses not just the political and territorial issues that have been so challenging during this war, but also points toward the potential for good that a stable and secure Iraq with a solid and capable government can accomplish.
To achieve this good will require a shift in collective thought to a deeper spiritual perception of life and its divine basis. In this spiritual framework, love isn't solely an emotion but can be seen as the expression of God – divine Love itself. Under the power of divine Love, personal, emotional attachments give way to a broader view, a perception that all people deserve to be seen with love and to be treated with honor.
As that perception grows, a higher humanity will naturally emerge, helping move people from the government of many personalities, sects, and clan loyalties – to the care of one God, the Mind of all. Obedience to this Mind adds to the perception of "a higher humanity" because one begins to see all as equal in the eyes of divinity.
Jesus demonstrated this spiritual reality when he fed thousands of people with a few loaves and fish. There was no head table for the well-connected. He sent his own disciples out to do the serving and later to "gather up the fragments" so nothing would be lost.
This conviction that nothing should be lost is much needed in Iraq, where there is continuing loss. This feeling of loss can be reversed – at least to a degree – as individuals claim, for that country and that region, the healing presence of divine Truth, which is well able to remove all scars. This may also be the time to gather the fragments – to appreciate the strength of the Iraqi people and their willingness to take on a different governmental structure, to think of themselves in totally new ways.
Our prayers to support Iraq's journey toward peace and unity can bless all who are touched by them. Through them, a higher humanity for all people comes closer to being an unassailable reality.
Adapted from an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel.