Scan almost any newspaper and you’ll find evidence of polarization. One political rival doesn’t want to lose advantage over another one. That religious sect won’t work with this one. Ancient feuds smolder even though centuries have passed since the initial insult occurred. Splinter group “A” hates related splinter group “B.” And on it goes.
What’s happening here? What about the need for unity and fellowship? Mutual respect? Brotherly love?
Love of one’s own country can sometimes help one appreciate how much other people must love their countries to be willing to work together for a good that embraces something bigger than their personal outlook on the world.
That willingness is a form of grace, something larger than one’s own political or sectarian beliefs. The willingness of patriots to fight on behalf of an ideal in the United States well over 200 years ago echoes around the world today in countries seeking human rights and freedom, like Libya, and in Greece, Portugal, and other countries that are striving for financial stability and dignity. In each, there’s a perceived ideal that transcends the challenges a nation may face in making progress.
The song “America the Beautiful” proclaims God’s grace being shed on the US. It occurred to me that while this song celebrates one country, the message of God’s grace is universal. The need to receive grace spoke to me like a prayer for each nation of the world – that God’s grace must be shed in a form that will speak to all, that will unite hearts and hands, and wipe out division. And this grace, which lifts off the burden of rivalry, envy, hate, can open eyes to each country’s special good, to gifts that can bless the family of nations. Those gifts may take form as natural resources, as being the agricultural “breadbasket” for a region, as skill in finance, or as offering a place of great beauty that attracts many visitors. In reality, these gifts all have their source in God, divine Spirit, and are brought to light through His grace.
Envy, rivalry, strife, lust, and greed divide the nations, making us fearful that our special gifts, whatever form they may take, can be stolen or corrupted. Fear may blind us to the individual and collective gifts that are ours to share and spread across the world for our own and others’ prosperity. As we pray to understand and trust God’s grace, we’re able to support the right use of those gifts and lift off the fear that they are finite or threatened by rivals. We can rest assured that their source is in divine Love – which is abundant in goodness, unlimited in nature, and forever secure. As the book of James puts it, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (1:17).
These gifts can’t be lost and are forever intact because they rest in God. And where there’s no fear of loss, unity of spirit can flourish and joy can prevail.
Mary Baker Eddy, who established the Monitor, wrote of God as the one Mind, the divine intelligence that can free people from separations, jealousies, and fears. This one Mind reveals intelligent ways to overcome rivalry and to build trust. Under Love’s light, we begin to realize that peace and progress are possible, even if we must work courageously to achieve them. She wrote: “Human hate has no legitimate mandate and no kingdom. Love is enthroned” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 454). Proving the truth of that statement requires vision, strength, and diligence, but the willingness to work in that direction is blessed by grace.
In our prayers for the world’s unity and peace, the promise of God’s grace can encompass all needs and nations. With Love – not warring personalities or philosophies – enthroned, and with intelligent Mind – not fearful jealousies – speaking, individuals and nations can see beyond fear to mutual love and respect. Each country’s gifts, and what each perceives as good, will be blessed and multiplied so that peace can abound for all people.