A Christian Science perspective: How can we contribute to lasting unity in the world around us?

“I’ll lift you and you lift me, and we’ll both ascend together,” said 19th-century poet John Greenleaf Whittier. This heartwarming idea is greatly needed at present.

Over the past several months, the “united” aspect of my country, the United States, has appeared to go missing! So many leading stories about the US published by news organizations worldwide have bared our political divisiveness. Yet immediately following the election, former bitter political enemies were talking about how important it is to cherish a peaceful transfer of power, and to enshrine common values such as equal rights, freedom of expression, and freedom of religion.

These calls for postelection unity are encouraging. And perhaps we are more ready for a unity that lasts beyond just a month or two.

How can each of us, no matter where we live, contribute to the kind of unity that affords us a foundation for real progress?

Seeking humble love for one another in our heart is a superb starting point. All interactions can be enriched by love. And to take it a step further, solid progress comes with a recognition that love actually has its source in God.

The Love that is God (see I John 4:8) is the wellspring and fountain for genuine love for one another. “All my springs are in thee,” the Bible points out (Psalms 87:7). God’s love is reflected in each of us, because we have a deeper identity than what the senses often present: We actually are His spiritual creation (see Genesis 1:26, 27). So genuine love – love for what we each actually are as God’s pure and perfect spiritual reflection – is fully available for us to express toward others in any moment, on any scene; and when we’re loving others this way, we’re living in accord with our own true, spiritual identity.

We are not isolated souls fending for ourselves, hoping desperately for unity and peace. Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy explained: “God creates man perfect and eternal in His own image. Hence man is the image, idea, or likeness of perfection – an ideal which cannot fall from its inherent unity with divine Love, from its spotless purity and original perfection” (“The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,” p. 262). Whether we’re praying for unity in our country, at work, or in our family, we can nurture within ourselves a growing sense of everyone’s unity with our one Maker. This can illumine in us the spiritual fact of the ever-presence and power of God, good, embracing everyone. God’s love expressed makes it tangible and real.

Many years ago, I faced what I considered to be a spirit of extreme disunity at work. It was hard to watch. I prayed to know that God’s unifying presence was much bigger than the seeming battle – infinitely bigger, in fact.

I saw that peace just for the sake of peace wasn’t the answer, since we all were ready for some foundational change. It wasn’t always easy. But hour by hour, day by day, month by month, compassion and prayer were at the forefront of my thoughts – and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one praying. I felt convinced that real, lasting healing was possible.

Indeed, this proved to be the case. Diligent prayer had made all the difference, and the work environment became more harmonious than ever. It’s truly the most remarkable shift from inharmony to unity I’ve ever seen.

In our unity with divine Love, we each truly are the perfect, spiritual likeness of perfect God. What a potent and valuable blessing! How splendid the view is from the mountaintop of heartfelt prayer, which helps us to behold more distinctly every single individual’s perfect unity with God, unchangeably good and beautiful, immutable and eternal, peaceful and joyful.

Christian Science teaches that separation from God is impossible, since He is constantly expressing Himself in us. “In him we live, and move, and have our being,” says the Bible (Acts 17:28). That is the ultimate of unity. When we express qualities such as kindness, honesty, and spiritual love toward others, we are expressing the truth that we are at one with divine Love.

At every moment, we have the right and inherent ability to love and to recognize that as God’s children, we are indivisible and whole. Acknowledging our unity with God lifts us to the recognition of the might and rule of God and, therefore, increasingly enables us to see and prove just how powerfully and perpetually God’s awesome love is in action.

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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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