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Toward more unity

Amid a world scene in which the noise of derision and division headlines the news almost daily, today’s column considers the unifying power of understanding how God harmoniously governs us.

I went to a meeting of a group of caring, dedicated people. But the scene at the meeting was very different: There were accusatory and intolerant words, people taking sides, verbal attacks on those who disagreed, and angry name-calling. Was there any way we could get beyond the heat of emotions to productive discussion and viable solutions?

With a deep desire to see how I could best help, I turned to God. I often study the Bible for the insightful, healing ideas I gain by doing so, and I thought of a passage that tells of “a poor wise man” who delivered a besieged city through his wisdom (see Ecclesiastes 9:14, 15).

The story doesn’t specify what this wisdom was, but Christian Science teaches that God is divine Life and infinite Mind, the sole source of true wisdom. Inspired by this, at the meeting and following it I quietly prayed, persistently acknowledging God’s supremacy and seeking the guidance of this Mind.

Through this prayer, I gained a clearer perception of what’s invisible to a merely surface, material view of things: the true nature of God as Spirit and of His creation as spiritual, perfect, harmonious – one with God, expressing His wisdom. Instead of focusing on the disunity or ruminating over the horrible things that had been said, I turned from being drawn to that outward view and instead held to this biblically based view of Spirit and its harmonious expression.

Doing this is more than just a mental exercise. It is a willingness to open our thought to a different perspective, a spiritual viewpoint, a better model for how we treat and think about one another. I have consistently found that doing so can make a practical difference in our experience. As we pray with divine Spirit and its expression as our starting point and live in accordance with God’s precepts, we can expect to see more of God’s harmony coming to light in our interactions.

That was proved true in my experience in an unexpected way. Although I had said nothing during the meeting, another member of the group called me later. She hadn’t said anything at the meeting either, but as we talked it came out that she held opinions opposite to my own. Rather than try to convince each other that our view was right, we agreed to disagree without rancor. Most important, we agreed to pray for calm, progress, and unity of spirit, refusing to be divided by differing opinions or distracted by the noise of contention.

Following our conversation, I called a few other members of the group – all of whom also valued the idea of prayer – to encourage them to join us in praying for wisdom. I learned later that she did the same. Within days, the group united as a whole with a fresh sense of purpose toward accomplishing our common goal. Many observed that there was a more honest respect and tolerance among the members as well as a stronger sense of brotherhood.

At the very time that many conflicting personalities seem to be holding sway, our prayers can reflect a growing conviction that there is just one Spirit, or divine Mind, that is entirely good, governing all in perfect harmony. A valuable lesson from the biblical story of the lone wise man who saved the city is that each one of us can contribute to unity by acknowledging and living our own unity with God, good. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered 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).

Amid a world scene in which the noise of derision and division headlines the news almost daily, it’s empowering to consider that progress and greater unity, although sometimes modest, will result from our deeply felt prayers anchored in the timeless spiritual truth of God’s harmonious government of all.

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