Sunflowers' promise of hope and unity

A Christian Science perspective: Sometimes a scene in nature provides a fresh view of how things could be. A field of sunflowers in Kansas gave such a glimpse.

National Sunflower Association

When you travel through western Kansas in August, near the town of Goodland, you’ll see huge fields of sunflowers in full bloom. The sudden burst of bright yellow against the green landscape is stunning, but the behavior of the sunflowers is even more impressive. All of the flowers face toward the sun and move together in unity as they follow the sun throughout the day.

Against the backdrop of the current contentious political landscape, the thought of these sunflowers moving together in unity is refreshing. It stimulates hope that there might be a way to move beyond antagonistic, divisive political differences. Granted, the life of a flower is simple compared with the complexities of human existence, but I believe there’s much to learn about how we might establish harmony by considering the sunflower’s activity.

The flowers move in harmony because they are all seeking and finding the good they need from the same source. This is what unifies their actions. Their need for the sun is intrinsic. They naturally follow the sun, and their needs are supplied in the process.

Much political discord today comes from disparate points of view as to how the social and economic life in the United States should be managed. These conflicting ideas have polarized the country. This polarization has been so extreme at times that it has severely slowed the normal effective action of the government. Thinking of the sunflowers has made me wonder if there isn’t a higher source of good we could focus on that might unite us all in progressive activity.

With this question in mind, I remembered Jesus’ words from the New Testament in the Bible. He said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10, James Moffatt). Through his healing work Jesus demonstrated how we can depend on God to uplift and enrich our lives. He revealed God to be the all-powerful source of goodness and love. Though no one has ever seen God in the way we see people, Jesus made God evident to us by showing the good results that come from humble reliance on God’s love. Jesus healed the rich and the poor, the pious and the public sinners. He made it clear that perfect divine Love pours out equally on all people, just as the sun shines its light on all. No one is left out.

We all need God as much as the sunflowers need the sun. The desire for goodness in our lives is intrinsic. It is natural to turn to God to seek and find goodness when we understand His loving nature.

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor, identified the power of God to bring people together in unity when she said: “One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself;’ annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry, – whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 340).

All people have a natural desire for goodness no matter which political party they belong to. Knowing infinite Love – the source of all goodness – is pouring out its blessings on all people, we can have hope that our country will find ways to experience more unified and productive activity. This hope will open our thought to receive fresh healing ideas as we sincerely reach across the political divide to discover the common good that unites us all.

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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”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

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.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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