The US and Iran: neighborly signs of love

A Christian Science perspective.

Remarkable thought, isn’t it? Current diplomatic relations suggest a different story between Iran and the United States. But new perspectives can change stories.

Events move countries to approach each other differently. Just last month there were three incidents of US ships rescuing Iranian ships in distress. In one instance, a US naval ship rescued an Iranian fishing vessel from pirates. Experiences such as these help people grow toward each other. These are isolated acts, but out of such events, we can find opportunities for understanding.

On a more personal level, when my wife and I moved our family to Los Angeles when our kids were very young, we found one apartment building with a vacancy at the time. The manager and probably a third of the residents were from Iran. While we were signing the lease in a room just off the main courtyard, the kids disappeared into the arms of future neighbors, who shared homemade snacks with them.

Sure, kids are cute and attract kind attention. But we adults also had good relationships. And even though neither my family nor our new neighbors were directly involved in the political relationship between countries, our sense of community with one another felt significant to me. The only problem was the abundance of the Iranians’ hospitality. With work and the demands of a young family, we didn’t accept as many invitations as they would have liked.

We also enjoyed the market nearby, run by Iranians. We got our produce there, including their wonderful Persian cucumbers. Our kids have eaten them every day for years. These are the things they associate with Iran.

Of course, there are big differences between people-to-people relationships in peaceful neighborhoods of Los Angeles and international conflicts over critical issues like the Iranian nuclear program. And yet, sooner or later, there’s an unavoidable coming together of people, one that is marked by love. The whole process can be slow, and it can feel laborious for people of different cultures to deal with one another. But eventually we’re all sure to unite because we share one divine Creator. As the prophet Malachi explained, “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?” (2:10).

Certainly we all have essentially the same makeup or needs. We all want safety, fulfillment, and well-being – along with good cucumbers and homemade snacks. We each have distinct identities, but we all share the same source of our lives – what ultimately inspires and directs us. We share the same origin of our life-purposes and the origin of the thoughts that facilitate these purposes.

That source is God, the divine Mind. And we all – right now – have an intimate connection with this divine Mind.

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, began the Monitor with the desire to support us all in seeing how we share the same heavenly Parent. It was also her desire to have us experience the benefits of this discovery. She wrote, “It should be thoroughly understood that all men have one Mind, one God and Father, one Life, Truth, and Love. Mankind will become perfect in proportion as this fact becomes apparent, war will cease and the true brotherhood of man will be established” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 467.)

Brotherhood, sisterhood, and war-free living represent the natural status of God’s creation. The state of the world will not be settled until this is seen. In the process, we may see a number of conflicts, tense standoffs, and years of negotiations between countries. Meanwhile, the fact of God’s common relationship to everyone will increasingly come to the surface and be felt. And it is this fact that will prove responsible for America and Iran and all others being united in one big family of nations.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

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The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

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