Twenty-two years ago, while living in Hong Kong, I watched the historic handover of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to China. There was much rejoicing among some of my local friends. Hong Kong was a thriving economy, and people felt connected to their Chinese roots. A new government of “one country, two systems” seemed a good way forward to many. Others felt the need to relocate to countries where the government was securely and historically democratic. And then there were those in between, who preferred to stay and wait, keeping their options open.
Recent events in response to what many see as a tightening of Chinese control of Hong Kong have motivated me to pray about this situation. In particular, there has been use of the term “rule of law” by the Hong Kong government. But many of the protesters see Chinese law – which some Hong Kong citizens could have been subject to had a controversial proposed law been passed – as not impartially applied.
My prayers have been inspired by a short “Daily Prayer” that I learned about when I was introduced to the healing practice of Christian Science while living in Hong Kong. The prayer was written by the discoverer of Christian Science and founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, who saw the need for prayer to be unselfish and radiate outward to bless all humanity. It speaks of a unity found under the rule of a higher law – divine law: “‘Thy kingdom come;’ let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin; and may Thy Word enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them!” (“Manual of The Mother Church,” p. 41).
I saw this as a directive for me as an individual to play a role. I was being asked to let myself be governed by God – divine Life, Truth, and Love – and also acknowledge that God’s Word embraces all. It was indeed a prayer of the power of unity, of the rule of Love that is so infinite it can benignly touch the hearts of each and every one on the planet.
As one begins to explore this, one also begins to see that true “affection” is rooted in the supreme law of Love, or God. The word “God” conjures up a variety of feelings and associations for folks in Hong Kong, based on perceptions, backgrounds, personal experiences, et cetera. But Christian Science offers an understanding of God as entirely good, whose divine law is so all-encompassing that one can refer to God as “the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal,” as the definition of “God” in Mrs. Eddy’s book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” says (p. 587).
God’s law is universal, so each of us has an innate ability to mentally discern and yield to divine Love, which I have found brings freedom and healing. It also opens our hearts to glimpse and feel the true nature of everyone – including protesters and government officials – as spiritual and pure, the image and likeness of God, as the Bible teaches.
This empowers us to see our fellow brothers and sisters as able to act with God-given moral courage, wisdom, foresight, sincerity, love, honesty, and understanding. Where such qualities are present, chaos, strife, fear, and insecurity are lessened.
Science and Health explains, “Reflecting God’s government, man is self-governed” (p. 125). There’s no easy solution to the concerns in Hong Kong and elsewhere in the world. But each of us can start with a selfless, loving prayer: a humble willingness to yield individually to the rule of God’s law, the law of good, and by doing so accept that others have, and will always have, access to the spiritual freedom we can all find under God’s government.