In an address 110 years ago, Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy offered a gently reassuring statement – one that still resonates with hope for people across the globe: "Remember, thou canst be brought into no condition, be it ever so severe, where Love has not been before thee and where its tender lesson is not awaiting thee" ("The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," pp. 149-150).
That's a comforting message when considering a relatively new threat to world peace. It surfaced in the Gulf of Aden when in one two-week period in November, Somali pirates seized eight tankers, including a 1,100-foot-long Saudi supertanker. Those assaults increased the threat against shipping to levels not seen since World War II, and followed a rise in piracy off the coasts of West Africa.
Piracy has become a criminal enterprise hauling in millions of dollars in ransom payments, which have led to higher insurance premiums for the shipping industry, frustrating delays for customers, and yet another variable to work into already volatile oil-market prices.
What then are the "tender lessons" mentioned above, which await us wherever we might sail, fly, or go about our daily activities? How can we defend ourselves against lawless predators, including ivory poachers and those who denude the flora of tropical countries to make drugs? And how should we pray for the perpetrators of such acts? That address by Mrs. Eddy offers a good starting point. She asked that congregation to always bear in mind that "Christianity is not alone a gift ... it is a growth Christward; it is not a creed or dogma ... [it] is the summons of divine Love for man to be Christlike – to emulate the words and the works of our great Master" (Miscellany, p. 148).
Jesus made many appeals to his followers to learn from him, grow spiritually, and trust God. He refused to be held hostage by hatred, abuses of power, even threats to his life. He called on all to love their enemies. No wonder Mrs. Eddy, who devoted her life to understanding the healing Science behind Jesus' life and teachings, chose to pray each day: "God bless my enemies; make them Thy friends; give them to know the joy and the peace of love" (Miscellany, p. 220).
Jesus spoke of the abundance and availability of God's blessings, which, when appreciated, have the power to eliminate piracy. For Christian Scientists, this means approaching the human condition knowing that there is a God who is divine Mind, infinite and loving, who intends His children to live in unity and harmony.
As one reasons further, it becomes clear that God, Principle, supplies only what is good. He is the Lawgiver. His is the only law to be obeyed. And obedience leads to victory over unprincipled invaders. These invaders include fear, poverty, disease, and limitations.
Further, one discerns that everyone has an unbreakable connection with the healing Christ, or divine message, and the capability to hear and respond to its direction. Earnest, frequent prayer cultivates a listening attitude that guides and protects us, bringing to light each individual's immunity from danger or ill health.
Unless we are spiritually equipped and alert, we may be taken hostage for a while by feelings of desperation and helplessness – not just on the high seas but in the most ordinary aspects of daily living. We might find ourselves paying the ransom of our peace and well-being to what St. Paul called "the carnal mind" – the fallacy of many limited minds opposed to the Mind that is God.
It is possible to realize that the divine Mind never negotiates or compromises with the carnal mind, which is inherently powerless, but rises strongly to overthrow it with the might of divine Love. We can refuse to let the wrongful acts of others capture and govern us; refuse to be victimized by terrorism or other forms of violence; refuse to turn anywhere but to thoughts from the one and only God of good, for release from bondage to material limitations of all kinds, and the spiritual guidance that transforms lives.
Adapted from the Christian Science Sentinel.