What unifies us
Taking a first step toward reconciliation in Darfur.
"Climate change escalates Darfur crisis" presents an unexpected avenue for achieving peace in Darfur, related to the severe water shortage there. The article states, "Competition for water – in refugee camps, between farmers and herders, and between countries – has long sparked conflict in the arid region and forms one of the main causes of the war in Sudan's Darfur region…."
According to the article, a growing number of aid workers believe that solving common problems, such as lack of access to water, could be a step toward reconciliation between warring factions. Caroline Saint-Mleux, of Care International, said, " … water can be a divider or it can bring people together."
Being united by a common challenge, or by any other means, inspires hope. Unity is a powerful force and ultimately has a spiritual basis. Mary Baker Eddy, who founded Christian Science, identified God as what unifies: "One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations..." ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 340).
In another one of her books she wrote of "the sweet and sacred sense of the permanence of man's unity with his Maker..." ("Unity of Good," p. 41). In our prayers we can recognize that all people – including those in Darfur – have, in reality, an inseparable and permanent relationship with God. This begins at once to quiet fears and bring peace to any situation because we are affirming that God's unifying presence is there.
The situation in Darfur brings to mind a biblical dispute over water recounted in Genesis. Envious of Isaac's success and prosperity, rival shepherds – Philistines – claimed the water from the well that Isaac dug as their own. When Isaac and his men dug another well, the Philistines claimed that one also. When Isaac peaceably dug a third, he was not challenged.
Shortly after that, he moved on to Beersheba and received this divine message: "Fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee…" This promise of God's help must have strengthened him. Then, the men who had been hostile came to meet with him and asked for a peaceful settlement between them.
More important than trying to figure out who is right and who is wrong in controversies is realizing that the Creator maintains and sustains creation. Spiritually understood, all our needs are met by the one infinite Creator who does not take from one person or group and give to another or, in any way, lack sufficient good to care for everyone. Maintaining that "sweet and certain sense" that there can be no separation between God and His creation helps break the fear that good is limited and that we will lack what we need.
This prayer enables one to let go of tightly held possessions and be willing to examine all aspects of a mutually shared problem and seek new solutions. This saves us from being stuck in the same old way of doing things.
As the Monitor article mentioned, there are new sources of water being discovered in the Darfur area. One underground source has as much water as there is in Lake Erie. But while this is a promise, even resources such as this one are finite. And what's most needed is our prayers that can help people reach a more spiritual outlook. A spiritual sense of things can lead to creativity and ingenuity that reveal new resources and ways of using them as well as ways of working together that were not apparent before.
By letting the one God unify our efforts, nothing is lost and all are blessed. A way to gauge if a proposal is God-outlined is to ask if it blesses all. Activities outlined by the God that is Mind result in universal blessing.
Recognizing that there is one God, we know that there is more uniting than dividing us. And this is also true for all the people in Darfur. As this becomes more evident, we can sing with the Psalmist, "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" (133:1).