Recently, a Monitor’s View told of religious groups in St. Louis rallying to support a Jewish temple whose cemetery had been vandalized. The spontaneous outpouring of kindness – practical and prayerful – was an encouraging example of unity and love.
Interestingly, the St. Louis Jewish community felt that the response they experienced “while extraordinary, was not surprising.” So questions worth considering might be these: Are these hate crimes the normal behavior in our society and the compassionate response the exception? Or is it the other way around? Is it, in fact, the natural inclination of people to be loving, charitable, and humane?
As the editorial points out, Jonathan Sacks, former chief rabbi of Britain, in his recent book, “Not in God’s Name,” cites a Bible verse as the basis for understanding how unity can exist among the three Abrahamic faiths – Christianity, Judaism, and Islam: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). If we accept that pronouncement, Mr. Sacks writes, “then the greatest religious challenge is, ‘Can I see God’s image in someone who is not in my image? Whose color, culture, or class is not mine?’ ”
The teachings of Christian Science – based on the Bible, particularly the healing ministry of Christ Jesus – are planted firmly on the above verse in Genesis, which affirms the perfection and goodness of all men and women. Other Bible verses echo this premise, including “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?” (Malachi 2:10) and “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8).
Perhaps the most indelible example of someone coming to the aid of another person who holds different beliefs is found in Jesus’ parable of the good Samaritan (see Luke, Chapter 10). In answer to the question “Who is my neighbor?,” Jesus tells of a Jewish man who is beaten, robbed, and left for dead by the side of a well-traveled road. Two fellow countrymen see his plight but ignore him and pass by. Yet a Samaritan, a man whose culture was rejected by the Jews, stopped and immediately ministered to the man. The aid he provided was both compassionate and practical. The moral, Jesus stressed to those listening, was “Go, and do the same.”
Today, are we doing the same? Are we looking beyond cultural and religious differences to see the deeper, spiritual likeness in our brothers and sisters? Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this publication and the religion of Christian Science wrote: “With one Father, even God, the whole family of man would be brethren; and with one Mind and that God, or good, the brotherhood of man would consist of Love and Truth, and have unity of Principle and spiritual power which constitute divine Science” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” pp. 469-470).
Our ability to give this unconditional love is strengthened by the understanding that we are all one universal family. And Christian Science recognizes the relationship each of us has to God as inseparable and inseverable, a premise that shows harmonious connections among all people to be normal and natural.
And so it is that our intuitive inclination to love and care for each other springs from the fact that we all have one divine source, no matter what name we attach to it. Mrs. Eddy offers this idea to promote that unity and healing: “Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation” (Science and Health, p. 332). So, we can each reflect God’s “tender relationship” to one another in warmth, compassion, and kindness.