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Prayer as Brexit negotiations continue

As discussions on the UK's exit from the European Union go down to the wire, today’s column explores how a deeper spiritual understanding can support the negotiations and help open the way to practical solutions.

The referendum in the United Kingdom, which resulted in a June 2016 vote for the UK to leave the European Union, gave people much food for thought. In the lead-up to the referendum, the “remain” side pointed to the strength and advantages that come from a political and economic union with the UK's closest geographical neighbors. The “leave” side emphasized the freedoms they felt the UK would gain, as well as the other relationships it could potentially develop, were the UK to leave the Union.

Negotiations for Brexit (as the process for the UK to leave the EU has come to be called) have been taking place and are supposed to be drawing to a close, but there are issues, especially over the implications for Northern Ireland's border with the Republic of Ireland, still needing to be resolved between the EU and the UK, and a variety of conflicting views seem to divide the UK Parliament and its population. It’s easy to feel daunted by the turmoil of uncertainty, but instead of doing so we can take a step back and pray. There is a law of God that is supreme and ever present, which can be seen to be forever at work in human consciousness, bringing whatever adjustments and leavening of thought are needed to best support progress for everyone.

The book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Christian Science discoverer Mary Baker Eddy, makes an insightful statement about what it calls our “scientific relation” to divine Spirit, God. By this it means a oneness we all have with Spirit as God’s spiritual offspring. It says: “In the scientific relation of God to man, we find that whatever blesses one blesses all, as Jesus showed with the loaves and the fishes,—Spirit, not matter, being the source of supply” (p. 206). Considering this statement, I have been struck by the implication that outside “the scientific relation of God to man” – seeing ourselves as material, rather than understanding our true identity as spiritual – we cannot expect to find that “whatever blesses one blesses all.”

Christian Science teaches that no one truly can be outside the scientific relation of God to man, yet what we see and hear seems to aggressively argue to the contrary. This material sense presents an inverted view of spiritual reality. God’s goodness is infinite, but the material senses present man as separate from this true abundance and suggest that one person’s welfare can be at odds with another’s.

Explaining the practicality of God’s abundance, a passage in Mrs. Eddy’s “Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896” says: “God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies. Never ask for to-morrow: it is enough that divine Love is an ever-present help; and if you wait, never doubting, you will have all you need every moment” (p. 307).

It can be useful to pray with this idea. The more we lift thought prayerfully to behold the reality of man as totally spiritual, supplied by God with spiritual ideas that bring daily supplies, the more readily will solutions come to light that promote the unfolding in human experience of this spiritual reality.

A writer in the Bible’s book of Proverbs counsels, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (29:18). Spiritual vision is needed in order for people to truly prosper and progress. There are those on both sides of the Brexit debate who have spoken of the importance of looking beyond one’s own personal needs to help the wider world community, to benefit our neighbors near and far. We can prayerfully support this desire to contribute to the betterment of the world by growing in our faith in God and our expression of spiritually based values. With humility and gratitude we can honor the spiritual relation we all have to God, and open our thought to proving step by step that “whatever blesses one blesses all.”

Adapted from an article published in the Aug. 22, 2016, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.

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