The power of spiritual unity

A Christian Science perspective: Whatever our race, religion, or nationality, the desire to see and express harmony and unity is native to who we are as children of God.

Around the world many countries and regions are experiencing a need for unity – a need to overcome divisiveness, whether caused by polarized political positions, race, religion, or even referendums. But with all the channels of communication and information available to help us know other people better, why shouldn’t countries and, indeed, all humanity be feeling a sense of unity by now?

Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, keenly observed human thought and understood the mental process by which neighbor comes to be divided against neighbor or group against group. She knew the Apostle Paul’s term the “carnal mind,” which he said is “enmity against God” (Romans 8:7), characterized by selfishness, hatred, and division. But in studying the Bible’s Old and New Testaments, she also found the inspired view that there is one infinite, supreme Mind, one God, whose conscious, active knowing and loving of its spiritual creation constitutes the true mental action of the universe, unchanged and unchanging.

And here she had a profound insight. Since God and His knowing are infinite, any thinking opposed to the infinite harmony expressed in God’s creation is not only wrong, it’s actually not real in an absolute metaphysical sense. This means that divisive thinking and action, while experienced on the human level and often tragically so, don’t exist in the Mind that is God.

A bold conclusion! But one that doesn’t lead to a Pollyannaish pooh-poohing of conflict and division as mere illusion. Rather, it leads to a moral imperative to confront divisive thinking as unacceptable, lacking a true claim to power, because it is opposed to the only legitimate source of authority – infinite Love.

This was the great lesson illustrated by the life of Christ Jesus, who prevailed against all that contradicted God’s law of harmony in his healing of sin and disease and overcoming death. He emphasized the importance of becoming like little children in order to receive the kingdom of God (see Mark 10:15). Should we be surprised to learn that the key tool in overcoming division is the purity and honesty of our own hearts? Whatever our race, religion, or nationality, the desire to see and express harmony and unity is native to all that we are as children of God, at one with Him and with each other.

That inherent desire for unity helps us repel divisive thinking and replace it with thoughts and actions that are loving, peaceful, and brotherly. Divisive thinking is not actually natural to us, but comes from the carnal mind, the counterfeit of the one divine Mind. We can watch our thoughts and accept as truly ours only those that have their origin in divine Love.

Listening for thoughts from God helps us bring clarity and, if necessary, correction to our own actions, political or otherwise. It inspires our prayers, helping us to see that everyone, including every political leader, is capable of making good decisions. It brings alertness and protection from those who would exploit divisiveness for popularity and short-term gain. It leads to calm that promotes more balanced, progressive, and inclusive civic engagement and public policy.

In truth, divine Love and spiritual unity constitute the only power, a power to which we can turn to bring healing to discordant situations and circumstances of all kinds.

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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.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.