A Christian Science perspective.

There's a saying that from small acorns, mighty oaks do grow. The progress toward stability in Somalia in the last year or so may be represented by the acorn, and many have hopes that a great oak of peace, supporting a strong, stable government, will grow from it.

For many years, the name "Somalia" conjured up images of warlords, pirates, refugees, and chaos. But there is a glimmer of hope with a genuinely elected government at the helm, however tenuously. Piracy along the coast isn't gone, but it is greatly reduced. Businesses are coming back to the cities. While car bombs aren't absent, urban areas are freer of extremists than they have been for years. A recent meeting of nations in London has brought promises of $350 million to the Somali government in order to strengthen security forces, among other things.

Helpful as this aid will be, individuals who love peace can join in prayer for progress on behalf of the forces of good that are striving to help this nation recover. To me, this is like the work Nehemiah did in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem after enemies had broken them down. This brave man faced plenty of challenges – threats against his life and the lives of his people, ridicule, and a hostile mental atmosphere. Instead of getting out of town while he could, he prayed, "Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands" (Nehemiah 6:9). And he stood firm.

Prayers for God's guidance on behalf of all who are working for peace in Somalia can stand firm on the side of restoration and progress. Order and stability are a natural outcome of government under God, the divine Principle, Love. Divine law leads to prosperity and stability. Divine Principle's ever-presence supports a healthy structure for decisionmaking and honest institutions that can enforce the law with justice. Through God's guidance, safety and stability are possible. Understanding that divine Love is present everywhere, including Somalia, will support the spread of peace to the rest of the country and the region.

This passage from "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy, is a great encouragement. It expresses God's power to save humanity in the face of challenges such as those afflicting Somalia: "The necessity for uplifting the race is father to the fact that Mind can do it; for Mind can impart purity instead of impurity, strength instead of weakness, and health instead of disease. Truth is an alterative in the entire system, and can make it 'every whit whole' " (p. 371).

Even now, divine Mind – the source of all intelligence – is bestowing clarity of thought and inspiration on leaders so they can make good decisions. And Mind is inspiring other world leaders with ways to help.

Prayer that recognizes everyone's inseparability from Mind supports such wise outcomes, intelligent alliances, peaceful futures. The oneness of God as the only Mind unites those committed to good, and it can reconcile the conflicting demands on the Somali leadership. The Somali people have shown great strength, and supportive prayers can help them gain the blessings of peace, safety, and progress.

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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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