There’s been much discussion lately about the plan of a small church in Florida to burn copies of the Koran on Sept. 11. In response, some churches in the area, along with Jewish temples and Muslim organizations, have planned inclusive events of their own.
For the world to gain peace and progress, efforts to overcome these divisive elements are needed. And prayer offers some ways to approach this work which are both strengthening and protective.
Not long after 9/11, I worked on an article with a man representing an Islamic center in the New York area. The cultural divide at times seemed impossible to bridge. Then as I prayed for insight, I realized that, in my own little way, I was engaged in peacemaking. I also began to feel compassion for the man from the cultural center who was having his own struggles as he tried to convey concepts that were so familiar to him but alien to me.
One of the many things I learned was that while human reasoning and political decisions by nations and communities have their own value and necessities, it’s what’s in our hearts that counts.
There’s a passage in the book of Revelation in which the Christ – what Christian Science sees as the spiritual idea of God and man that Jesus taught – makes this promise: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me” (3:20).
The promise is to “any” one who hears the voice of God’s love for man and opens up to at least hear what Christ is saying. To me, this promise is relevant to both men and women, because the Bible says that God made both male and female and that He made them good.
The promise of Christ is that God loves each of us and has made us like all of His creation: spiritual and pure. We are all precious in His sight and have a specific purpose, which doesn’t include hatred or destruction. Only good – truth, love, peace, mercy, wisdom, intelligence, discernment – is intended for each individual.
The pressures of the world – what the Apostle Paul called “the carnal mind,” opposed to peace, joy, unity, and other Godlike qualities – seem to divide us into separate nations, religions, political parties, and so on. But this condition isn’t actually true, and it’s possible to prove the spiritual reality through one’s commitment to love and to healing – of ourselves, of our friends and relatives, and of our communities.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science and founded the Monitor, provided powerful guidance to these efforts. She wrote: “At all times and under all circumstances, overcome evil with good.... 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).
It’s this “higher humanity” that is so earnestly needed right now and that can lift the burden of fear and doubt from people’s shoulders. Our prayers can help make this promise of victory over evil come true for all people, no matter what their religion or politics.