Songs of deliverance for a besieged world
A Christian Science perspective.
Besieged might be one word people would apply to feelings about certain parts of the world that are in crisis right now. Communities affected by the Gulf Coast oil spill. Israel, dealing with the fallout from its attack on a humanitarian flotilla from Turkey. Iran, facing another round of sanctions. North Korea. Greece and other countries affected by the debt crisis in Europe. The United States, entangled in its own financial and employment issues, among other things.
Often, in the face of such intense difficulties, the desire is to rush around wildly, to line up help, to make agreements, and then figure out later what the impact will be. Behind such conditions is the feeling that the world has broken up into isolated areas of turmoil, and has somehow spun outside God’s love.
That belief should not be allowed to go unchallenged because it would undermine what is actually known of God and His goodness. Christian Science shows creation to be spiritual ideas in the divine Mind, God. It’s worthwhile to stop and ask: Is it really possible for a spiritual idea to somehow be extracted from the infinite Mind that contains it? And if it could be extracted, how could one find a place outside infinity in which to isolate that idea from its Parent? Not likely.
Then the challenge is not so much in the outward issues but in perceiving God’s present power as an overarching help to a world in trouble. Mary Baker Eddy provided a unifying vision of God in her autobiography, "Retrospection and Introspection." She wrote, “Mind demonstrates omnipresence and omnipotence, but Mind revolves on a spiritual axis, and its power is displayed and its presence felt in eternal stillness and immovable Love” (pp. 88-89).
Understanding Mind as the axis along which everything moves totally shifts one’s view of the world. Instead of seeing political machinations, financial markets, restless citizens, and so forth, as earth’s movers and shakers, one finds a very different basis for power: the infinite stillness of immovable Love. This brings the conviction that the spiritual axis will hold through Mind’s omnipresence and omnipotence. And it follows that all of us, held on this spiritual axis and in God’s immovable Love, are safe.
In the face of “immovable Love,” the voices of selfishness, anger, deception, dishonesty, hatred, malice, and related mortal beliefs fall silent. Immovable Love reveals the reality of divine Spirit and its idea so that material motives and goals lose their appeal and human thought rises higher. Those engaged in such practices are cleansed, and the wrong acts are expunged.
Jesus understood this law of God’s goodness as the true nature of creation and the spiritual axis on which his ministry revolved. This power not only healed all kinds of illnesses – both mental and physical – but also provided him with wisdom in the face of outright hatred and subtle deceit. Immovable Love empowered him to be fearless, even in the direst circumstances. On more than one occasion he experienced this promise from Psalms: “Thou [God] shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance” (Ps. 32:7).
One example is the time when he raised Lazarus from the dead. The atmosphere of grief surrounding the event was totally understandable. But Jesus wasn’t drawn into any part of this scene. In the prayer that is recorded in John’s account of this experience, we don’t hear Jesus asking God to console the grieving or even to restore the dead.
Instead, he simply says: “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me” (John 11:41, 42). Jesus was turning to God fully. He wasn’t bringing a material condition to God for healing. He was perceiving that the divine law was already in effect, had already delivered his friend, and was thanking God for it.
Each prayerful individual can approach the world scene with this perspective, that right now divine law is in effect, and that evidence of its presence on the scene is perceptible. The conviction that God hears us, and that our prayers are worthy to be heard, is urgently needed. Our prayers can take strength from the centuries of proof by Bible-reading people of all races and cultures, and the promise their proofs hold for us today. Each proof stands as a light and as a song of Truth’s deliverance.
Adapted from an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel.