MY mom discovered a sure-fire way to peace between my brother and me when we'd fight. She'd make us sit close together in some quiet place until our usual good humor returned.
Couldn't we all use a measure like this in our world today? The grievances arising in families, in communities, and in nations can be worked out with careful thinking based on genuine brotherly love. Groups--even of widely diverse backgrounds, beliefs, lifestyles--can share peacefully the same space. But for this to happen, it will surely require a little of the "sitting together that's referred to in the Bible. Paul's letter to the Ephesians describes it this way: "God, who is rich in mercy, for his gre at love wherewith he loved us . . . hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
Disputing parties do benefit from finding common ground. Perhaps, viewed from the perspective of common interests, solutions appear within the realm of possibility. In our family the common ground for my brother and me was the short bench where we sat. But the surest common ground for all of us is the "heavenly places Paul refers to. Humanly, the common ground method doesn't work if there is no shared perspective. But the universal bond of love among the family of man under the loving government of God g ives us an unbreakable bond of unity that can lead to just and workable solutions.
Only within this spiritual common ground can we find the wisdom and power necessary for solutions that meet everyone's needs. This heavenly place exists now--not in some far-off spot, but right in the midst of the most bitter of disputes. But, for its presence to be felt in ways that really make a difference, we must recognize and accept its source.
That source, of course, is God Himself. God is Love, as the Bible shows us. If God is Love, then Love is what He is and what He does. Since God is infinite, He is everywhere, in all places. He is God in all places. Since He is divine Love itself, then the love of God is in all places too. A universal God and His universal love--that's the way to think of Him. Then, there is the idea of God's bestowals, His grace, His gifts to man. As James so warmly tells us in the Bible, "Every good gift and every perfe ct gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
It can be startling to see the effects of learning to know God as universal, divine Love. The small, personal sense of God and man disappears when we adopt the larger, spiritual view. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says, "This human sense of Deity yields to the divine sense, even as the material sense of personality yields to the incorporeal sense of God and man as the infinite Principle and infinite idea,--as one Father
with His universal family, held in the gospel of Love.
In later years I grew to see my brother's viewpoint more quickly--because he was my brother. In the "gospel of Love, we are all brothers and sisters in the same family--God's family. When we accept this spiritual fact wholeheartedly it equips us with a deep, spiritually-based empathy that is equal to resolving disputes.
"Sitting together really means treating family, friends, work associates, neighbors, community members--everyone--with the fullest measure of integrity, love, and respect. In a sense we are all sitting in the same seat--the spiritual foundation of membership in God's family.