I was representing my local Church of Christ, Scientist, at a “belief fair” hosted by a local university, where faith groups in the area were invited to come and share information. It was a decidedly friendly campus event, and I had gotten into conversation with a man representing another faith community.
We appreciated sharing with each other our love for God and for the power of prayer. I began to feel a little flustered, though, when the conversation took a turn. It seemed to me that the man wasn’t really listening to what I was sharing and was only trying to share his point of view.
After a while, he asked if we could pray quietly together. This is one of my favorite things to do, so I happily agreed. I closed my eyes and mentally thanked God for being there – right here, loving everyone gathered on that university lawn – and then I asked to see even more clearly what God was doing and seeing at that moment.
I felt overcome with a tangible sense of the presence and all-inclusiveness of God, the divine Spirit. Gratitude for God welled up in my heart in a totally fresh way – and it included gratitude for both God and all of God’s children.
It was so moving. I wasn’t trying to convince myself that everyone (including the man who had seemed so off-puttingly pushy) is God’s child, the spiritual image of the Divine. I simply felt deeply aware that, yes, God is truly our heavenly Father-Mother, our perfect creator, and as such, is the unifier of us all. We are God’s work!
I felt I was experiencing something of what Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, says in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself;’...” (p. 340).
This statement is based on the implications of the depth and breadth of the First Commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). The oneness of God implies a cohesiveness in all His work, a freedom from friction or faction. And we can demonstrate that divine harmony in our activities.
My frustration with the other man fell away. Now, I just felt so much more aware of God’s presence that I was eager to open my eyes and see evidence of the goodness He expresses at every moment!
Well, I opened my eyes, and the man I was speaking with was looking intently at me. He said, “My back doesn’t hurt anymore!” He went on to explain that his back had been troubling him for a long time, but as we were praying he’d felt all the pain just vanish.
He asked what I’d been praying about, and I said, “God just loves us all so much, doesn’t He?” The man gave me a big smile and said, “Yes, He does!”
I certainly hadn’t been praying specifically for this man – I hadn’t even known of his trouble. But nothing can interrupt the harmony of divine Spirit. And each of us, after all, is truly spiritual, reflecting God’s nature. These spiritual facts are universal, there for all to experience.
The fresh view of God’s allness and oneness I had that day has helped me realize that cutting through inharmony between people of different faiths – or different politics, backgrounds, etc. – isn’t about trying to make everyone agree. The power of God, good, isn’t determined by what viewpoints people have. God just is, and when we start from the vantage point of the universality of God’s harmony and love, seeing ourselves and others in God’s light, healing is a natural result.