Supporting unity in the world

A Christian Science perspective: Tense or hostile situations can be resolved as we turn to God as the Parent that guides and dearly loves His children.

Whether we’re looking at local, national, or international news, it’s obvious that there is a heightened sense of division in the world. In small and large communities, polarization instead of unification seems to be the order of the day.

Yet there are also evidences of brotherly (and sisterly!) love, such as in the aftermath of Mexico’s Sept. 19 earthquake (see, for example, “Mexico’s quake reveals better prep, grass-roots responsiveness,” CSMonitor.com). Stories like that encourage me to pray for – and expect – more of that unity to be seen, especially on the international scene.

A personal experience, though modest, has inspired my efforts in this direction. I was serving on a committee that was fiercely divided on an important issue. Unable to resolve the disagreement, we put off voting until our next meeting.

I decided to approach this situation in a way I’d found helpful many times before: I prayed for guidance, looking to Christ Jesus’ life for inspiration. I realized that while the specifics of the issues of Jesus’ day may have been different, the fundamental points he taught and demonstrated, whether dealing with ordinary people or corrupt rulers, apply equally to today’s challenges.

For instance, even in the face of people who hated him, Jesus said: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

I was so inspired by his confidence in God’s goodness. His life set a powerful example of willingness to stand for God’s all-encompassing love for His children, even when he faced violent opposition. As I thought about all he had to go through, it gave me perspective on my much smaller challenges.

When I thought about the group’s next meeting, I was scared because of the intense hatred that had been expressed at the previous gathering. But I knew that the peace Jesus was talking about rested in his conviction that God, infinite Love, is our Father-Mother, one we can turn to for all our needs. Jesus’ healing work among people of different classes and cultures surely supports this conviction. And I clung to that fact.

I was also helped by a statement from Mary Baker Eddy in her textbook on Christian Science. She writes: “One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself;’ annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry,– whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 340).

The idea that there is one divine intelligence came through very strongly to me. I realized that God really is the one and only Mind guiding its spiritual creation, and because that is true, situations can be resolved as we yield our personal opinions and instead trust the divine care for everyone.

This powerful thought took away my fear of further antagonism on the committee and freed me from the feeling that there was no solution. I felt strengthened as a result of my prayers.

Even though the atmosphere of the next meeting was initially electric with tension, the committee was able to reach a decision. And we didn’t need to fight about it. I was both relieved and grateful.

Obviously global issues are more complex than what our small committee was dealing with. And yet even then we can trust that diligent prayer – affirming that the one Mind that “unifies men and nations” is always guiding us – makes a difference. It supports the discovery of answers that work for all the parties involved.

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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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