A recent Monitor editorial gives us a hint about how we can work toward greater peace and harmony in our neighborhoods and, by extension, our world. One statement reads, “No matter how you measure it, civic engagement is the bedrock of social peace and economic prosperity” (“The measure of civic virtues in a lost letter,” CSMonitor.com).
Many of us may nod and say, “Right!” And then go on with our lives without really getting involved. After all, what difference can one person, or even a few caring people, make when the problems seem so large?
My study of Christian Science has given me an answer. In her seminal work, “Science and Health with Key the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Whatever holds human thought in line with unselfed love receives directly the divine power” (p. 192). Wow! If my actions are unselfed, I can count on God’s power for help.
“Unselfed love” is the key. It is strikingly different from unselfish action based on human do-goodism. To me it means getting beyond a limited mortal sense of identity separate from God, and recognizing that, in fact, we actually express God’s nature as His beloved immortal creation. Even though our motives for human action might be well-meaning, they may not be as effective as when we consciously recognize our inseparability from our divine source. When we put aside any sense of acting independently, on our own, we open the door to the expression of God’s goodness and love, which empower us in our efforts to help others.
Our efforts for good, when coming from a place of unselfed or spiritually pure love for others, are not only nice things to do, but have the power of God, divine Love, behind them. Christ Jesus is a wonderful example of this. During his three-year healing ministry, his unselfed love for others opened the way for the divine to be demonstrated through his wonderful healing works. He understood God’s great love for mankind and knew that this love was a power available to all. Today, 2,000 years later, we are still feeling the impact of that unparalleled example of unselfed love.
It was just such unselfed love that inspired several young Christian Scientists in Kenya, to respond to the needs of street children who had no educational opportunities some years ago. Their hearts went out to these children, and they yearned to help. After significant prayer, it occurred to them to start a small school, and some land was donated for the school in the country straddling the border between two warring tribes, which was just one of several hurdles that seemed insurmountable.
A great deal of prayer went into every aspect of the school. The founders thought of it as a beam of Love that would enlighten the darkness of strife and ignorance, and they leaned on the promise in a Bible quote that reads: “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth;... I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19). And in relying on God to supply their needs, they consistently prayed with an idea from Science and Health, “To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings” (p. vii).
These unselfed efforts opened the way for the divine light of inspiration and love to shine through in tangible ways. Years later the school has not only educated hundreds of children, but the school’s outreach into the two warring tribal communities contributed greatly to a lasting peace in the entire area.
When we love with a pure love, a Christly love, and leave self-concern behind, we are expressing our true spiritual nature. This brings us into harmony with the infinite love of God, which is the ultimate source of love in the universe. This, in turn, gives impetus to our actions, intelligence to our decisions, strength to our efforts. We can make a difference.