My taxi driver at busy Heathrow Airport met me with a friendly greeting followed by an announcement that he was Muslim. At first, I was unsure why he would feel the need to share his religion with me. But then, sensitive to the fact that there are those who might feel fear and hate toward those of his faith in a climate of heightened security in Britain (and elsewhere), I reciprocated his handshake with a sincerely warm and friendly greeting.
This simple meeting between me and this driver – a Christian and a Muslim – was more than a symbolic gesture of human unity amid the confrontational mood and events in the world. To me, it went beyond even social courtesy. I felt a genuine desire to bring every moment under the direction of God, whom I have come to know from the Bible as Love, and that this meeting was an expression of that Love.
At his prompting, we spoke of the urgent need to demonstrate the brotherhood of man. Together we acknowledged God as the Father of all – making us all brothers and sisters. We spoke freely of our love for God, our children, and our mutual desire to treat everyone as we would want to be treated.
Our conversation was evidence to me that despite the hatred and violence so often depicted between those of differing beliefs, there is a spiritual impetus that operates universally, ready and willing to impel every receptive heart to love. As a Christian Scientist, I have come to identify this animating power as the kingdom of God within us. Christ Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is not a place but the goodness of God being expressed in our true nature as children of God, divine Love.
Though my Muslim acquaintance would not have defined his relationship to God in this way, the spirit to love one another was genuinely agreed on as drawn from God. We both shared experiences of learning how to love in the face of hate and prejudice. We agreed that anything less than love is not God’s will for humanity.
This hourlong taxi drive had a deep impact on me. It was a small but significant answer to my daily prayers to see the kingdom of God as “on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). As I continue to pray, I carefully consider a prayer given by the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, to the members of her Church: “ ‘Thy kingdom come;’ let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin; and may Thy Word enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them!” (“Manual of The Mother Church,” p. 41).
I see that acknowledging God’s presence – His authority to govern us, purify us, and enrich our affections – dissolves fear and hate. In praying to divine Love as the power that enriches our affections, we naturally find limitless opportunities to treat others as our brothers and sisters under the guidance of one universal Father-Mother God. With this as my daily prayer, it seemed divinely native to have this opportunity to recognize man’s spiritual nature as a child of God, of divine Love – and to express this love in our inspiring conversation.
By our deep recognition of the true brotherhood of man I felt we were tangibly counteracting the current of world thought that people should fear and hate one another – whether because of religion, sect, dogma, or culture. We were proving the spirit of love is all that is acceptable.
I believe our time together was a living prayer – the action of love fulfilling the law, as quoted in Romans 13:10: “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” Understanding that love is the law of God, I could see that this same spirit of love is, in fact, present everywhere; that within every man, woman, and child there is the potential to recognize that we exist to share in the mutual blessing of divine Love, who enriches our affections.