Millenniums ago, descendants of Abraham crossed the Jordan River as they emigrated to the Promised Land. Today, modern-day émigrés push toward their own "promised lands," driven by political unrest and economic failures. Thus immigration issues are at the top of the agenda in many countries throughout the world. Zimbabweans are crossing the Limpopo River, seeking food and work in South Africa. Iraqis fleeing violence and economic disruption traverse a continent and a sea to find refuge in Sweden. Mexicans cross the Rio Grande and Arizona's southern desert to seek work in El Norte.
Meanwhile, Americans and Canadians are crossing the Rio Grande southbound to expand businesses, populate art colonies, and buy retirement homes. Britons are crossing the English Channel for new homes in Europe's southern rim, while newcomers from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia are changing the social landscape across the European Community.
The flow of immigrants – millions of people seeking jobs, political refuge, or a place to start a new life or to retire – is compelling reexaminations of immigration laws and border security. It has also stirred concerns about social strains, finances, languages, and racial attitudes – even about how we define nation and neighbor.
What will bring healing? How can nations establish lawful and orderly border crossing, dealing compassionately with millions of newcomers, many of whom may have entered a country illegally but have become interwoven into a country's fabric of life?
There are no quick-fix solutions. Yet no challenge is beyond betterment when, and if, people turn to the aid of God's limitless wisdom and love. When the need is for a fundamental change in the way people think and relate to one another, the only lasting, healing solutions are spiritual. The Bible says, "The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations," and continues, "And there shall be no more curse" (Rev. 22:2, 3). The Greek word ethnos, translated here as "nations," refers to foreigners – strangers within and without one's gates, all seeking a better life.
When praying, it helps to begin by acknowledging core spiritual facts as they're discerned through an inspired-Word reading of the Bible. Among them are these facts:
• Peace at borders begins with peace within individual hearts. Inequities in human economies eventually give way, life by God-improved life, to the impartial blessings of the divine economy. Justice and mercy stem from the fathering Principle that is creation's mothering Love. One's hope for self-realization need not compromise another's desire for security.
• Jesus summed up the laws of a holy Principle-governed world in one two-fold command: Love God with all your heart and mind; love others as you love your own spiritual nature (see Luke 10:27). All relationships grow from the one root of universal divine Love. Even if situations seem out of control, God's calming and ordering Christ-light is there to be seen and felt – to ameliorate that very situation. As Mary Baker Eddy wrote, " 'Let there be light,' is the perpetual demand of Truth and Love, changing chaos into order and discord into the music of the spheres" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 255).
• One infinite God shelters and prospers all its creation as spiritual individualities. Each of us, as God's composition, has a divine purpose, an immeasurable worth, and a permanent home in the mental universe of divine Mind, in which Mind's ideas coexist as harmoniously as do the notes in a symphony or a samba. The most basic of human desires is to live and work and move within God's sphere – for mutual progress, in safety, under wise law, as loved and valued contributors to society. A prayer seeking that end could be equally simple: Untangle the conflicts, guide each of us in our orbits, and send Your peace across all nations.
Adapted from an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel.