Belfast, Northern Ireland, is so much in my prayers these days. The sectarian riots in east Belfast may be moving many people to continue praying for this city, which has accomplished so much. Both Protestants and Catholics have dealt with the sectarian divide that was so deeply entrenched many years ago, breaking down many barriers and achieving much unity. The walls that had been drawn between each community and the “no go” areas have been pulled down.
This progress cannot be reversed by a renewal of violence. The healing of Belfast has made it one of the most moving cities I’ve had the pleasure of visiting, and also one of the prettiest. Its warm and friendly people know the value of peace and harmony. One day when I lost my way while walking to my destination, two people went out of their way to walk there with me.
Many churches have made important contributions toward the city’s progress through the Troubles. I’ve witnessed in the course of my work the prayer that Belfast’s Christian Science community has done in support of their city. Their prayers embrace peace, safety, and unity. The local representatives and public officials are working hard to find lasting solutions. And many people in the world are praying with them. The miracle of Belfast provides the hope needed for a world that is divided in so many places, where people are fighting and struggling for peace and unity.
Sometimes it seems easier to dwell on what divides us, but healing will come much more quickly if we focus on what unites us. From a spiritual standpoint, we will see that truly peaceful existence comes from having “one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph. 4:6). This is the strong place on which to stand. It’s the outlook that removes anything that divides, and that brings into focus our meeting point, our basis from which to reason that we all have one God. When we focus on this spiritual aspect of our collective being, we will see one another only as His loved children and nothing less.
From this concept flows out the Christians’ common belief: one Christ. The “one body” that the Bible talks about, I believe, is the universal Church, where Christ is the rock that we all stand on. The Bible says, “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another” (Rom. 12:5).
While we may have doctrinal differences, they don’t fragment or break the bond of Christ’s universal Church, where our diversity is expressed through the individual ways in which we each see God. We collectively support good through our individual approach to prayer. But it always brings us back to the same place of divine Love practiced, of the Principle by which we can live, as Christ Jesus showed us.
When we serve one another in the bond of universal Love, which is God, we are serving and preserving the body of Christ. Peace and harmony are the natural outcome. Many have worked hard to preserve and bring about this peace. Many acts of selfless forgiveness and working hand in hand in the community have fostered this bond of Love. The prayers that helped bring the peace still stand. Because they were built on the foundation of Christ, the rock of Truth, nothing can overthrow them. The universal Church unites all Christians in that one spiritual bond.
To receive Christian Science articles weekly, click here.