The Cole and the ark of safety

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

In the aftermath of last week's attack on the US destroyer Cole while it was refueling in Yemen, a reexamination of security procedures for military ships is underway.

There's an obvious concern for the future well-being of other Navy vessels and their crews. According to some experts, a US warship at sea is considered one of the securest places on the planet. The vessels are equipped to detect any threat long before the threat gets close.

But the Cole wasn't on the open sea. It was in a foreign harbor, and foreign ports require visiting vessels to submit to local rules and procedures that reduce a warship's security. For example, advance notification of arrival eliminates the protective veil of secrecy. Plus, every ship is sharing the port with hundreds of other vessels, large and small. There's no way of knowing if their intentions are hostile. In other words, despite the heightened security measures that will inevitably follow this tragedy, there's no human way to guarantee safety.

Knowing some divine facts is helpful, though. For instance, an Old Testament Bible passage says, "Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?" (Mal. 2:10). God's protecting presence is for all, regardless of nationality or religious belief. No one and no place is outside His reach. Nor is any place or person foreign in His eyes.

One of the earliest symbols of safety recorded is a ship - an ark, actually - which carried its cargo of people and animals safely through a hazardous journey. Every kind of animal was welcome on the ark. No kind was forbidden. Does this hint at another spiritual fact - that from the perspective of God, who is universal Love, none of His creation is excluded, unknown, foreign?

How do we make that spiritual fact real in our own life? Lift our perspective. Do away with the notion of foreigners - of us over here and them over there looking suspiciously different. Do away with that whole attitude. Replace it with an awareness of a shared divine heritage. This brings our own view more in line with God's view. And it's a step toward lasting security.

Consider the ark not as an old boat but as a new way of thinking. Divinely inspired thinking. Picture humanity not in warships but in this ark. Everyone coexisting with Love, living together in peace. No one an alien. No one a foreigner. The good news is, this isn't just fantasy. It's spiritual reality. And realizing this reality in prayer does help reduce the danger and increase the safety for everyone.

While no child of God - and that's every one of us - is a foreigner on the ark, certain attitudes are: revenge, hatred, fear. Maybe this is what's symbolized in the Bible when certain people engaged in very wrong behavior weren't on the ark. Evil doesn't coexist with divine Love. It has no home in, or with, His creation. But it's the evil, not the person, that must be excluded.

How do we apply this, make it real for ourselves? A modest beginning would be to expel hatred and anger from our own consciousness, especially toward those we've considered foreign and threatening. The result? We help to include everyone in the ark of safety. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, wrote of the ark as representing safety, and the eternal coexistence of God and His creation (see "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 581). This is the divine fact: God's children live in His presence. We're not strangers to Him. There's no divine basis to see one another as foreign.

The day will come when all warships are put aside. And one ark of safety - created for God's universal family - encircles and protects everyone. Together. Because no one is a stranger to divine Love.

You can read more articles like this one in a weekly magazine, the Christian Science Sentinel. For a free sample copy, see

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.