Some people wore ski masks in Seattle a couple of weeks ago. But they had no intention of skiing. On one level, that's just as well, since there's seldom much packed powder downtown, despite the beauty of the surrounding peaks.
What Seattle did have was mountainous trade negotiations, which concluded "inconclusively." Even those who agree that the World Trade Organization is a good thing were unable to agree on an agenda to discuss many thorny issues needing attention. And adding to the intensity of the occasion were people who question how the WTO is structured, if not the very premise that it facilitates human progress.
Beside the tens of thousands of peaceful dissenters were those folks wearing ski masks, the self-proclaimed anarchists. The anarchist dress code is designed to intimidate, and to keep the identity of the intimidator hidden. And on the surface they achieved both these goals.
Below the surface, however, I have something to say: "Friends, you blew it. I saw right through your masks." What I mean is, in my prayers I saw a truth that can't be faceless: that everyone's genuine identity comes from God. I saw not just beyond the clothing but beyond the mentality that proudly wears the label "anarchist." Beyond a frame of thought that masks positive solutions to problems.
While no human form of government is perfect, to some degree it can reflect the government of God by fostering constructive ideas rather than destructive ones. Anarchy, like totalitarianism, seeks to govern by personal will (even if it is the willful imposition of non-government or chaos). Blind will needs to be removed from all our hearts, in any disguise.
Spiritually considered, anarchist is truly a name for nothing, nobody, nada, zero, zilch. Ultimately, everyone will realize that we are all the sons and daughters of God. All the individualities God creates exist to express good.
Anarchy is impossible to sustain. It implies an absence of government. But God is the universal, divine Principle. God governs nonstop, everywhere, always. God can't even momentarily suspend His government, or stop being God. We are each unequivocally subject to His infinite goodness. Adopting the label and the actions of an anarchist is donning a mask that obscures one's own sense of identity. And at some point that becomes unbearable.
What is the identity God intends for everyone? To be an individual reflection of good. To express divine Love. This is the nature that truly belongs to all of us.
The identity that a person discovers in God is more than just peaceful or peacekeeping. It is the peace of God expressed in human living. It doesn't mean that everyone has to hold the same opinion on any given issue. But when the mask of human will is gone, accusatory thoughts don't cloud our natural helpfulness, self-righteousness can't chill our warmth for others, and bitterness does not blind us to God's love for us and for all our neighbors. Solutions to problems don't go undiscovered.
The discovery of our own spiritual nature is liberating. It involves individual effort that brings collective benefits. It is living, breathing prayer for the good of all.
Is this too much to ask: that we discern the constructive desires of WTO supporters and opponents; that a higher intelligence reveal solutions that meet all legitimate concerns; that we find ways to simultaneously facilitate world trade, implement better labor conditions, and improve environmental standards?
Mary Baker Eddy (who founded this newspaper) pointed out that for anything to truly benefit anyone, it must bless everyone. She wrote in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," "In the scientific relation of God to man, we find that whatever blesses one blesses all, as Jesus showed with the loaves and the fishes, - Spirit, not matter, being the source of supply" (pg. 206).
Beyond any mask of destructive intentions is the potential for change; for waking up to a more spiritual consciousness. It's worth the effort to look past any disguise and find God's expression there.
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society