Conquering our common enemy
This article was published on January 21, 2021 as a web original.
When years of political partisanship in the United States recently crescendoed into the invasion of the Capitol building in Washington, DC, some familiar words came to mind:
Let all that now divides us
Remove and pass away,
Like shadows of the morning
Before the blaze of day.
Let all that now unites us
More sweet and lasting prove,
A closer bond of union,
In a blest land of love.
(Jane Borthwick, Christian Science Hymnal, No. 196 )
Nice words. But do they add up to a hopelessly naive sentiment in the face of such aggression?
Clearly, there are sincere differences over significant political questions in all nations around the world. And yes, in many cases the intolerance of opposing views is extreme. But naive is the opposite of how those words struck me. The poetic way they portray how easily sunlight removes shadows brought me an empowering sense that division is ultimately fleeting in light of our true nature as children of one divine Mind, God.
As we grasp that this is the nature of our reality—spiritual, and unified under God’s governance—our thoughts contribute to a dawning spiritual light that increasingly excludes the dark, material thinking that leads to implacable division, undermining the well-being of our nations.
It’s Christ, the self-revealing light of God’s love, seen so vividly in the thoughts and deeds of Jesus, that dispels such mental darkness. Christ Jesus was wholly conscious of, and continuously expressed, God’s love, and this led to powerful instances of healing. Such Christliness is natural to us all. It acts on the basis of our oneness with one another as Mind’s spiritual offspring. In contrast, unspiritual thinking—self-centered, fear-based, dishonest—personalizes thoughts and turns us away from the one Mind, blinding us to our joyous spiritual relatedness to each other.
Such unspiritual thinking comes from a source that isn’t the divine Mind. This hidden influence that claims to separate us and prevent us from feeling natural affection for one another isn’t the influence of particular people—much as it may look like that. It’s thoughts stemming from the material mentality that Christian Science names mortal mind, which isn’t truly any individual’s mind. These impersonal thoughts tempt us to act against our true nature, because they aren’t from divine Mind.
There’s no foundation for division in a singular Mind, and therefore, there is truly no division.
As we recognize that it’s this influence of a mentality opposed to God that claims to tear us apart, we can hold to the Science of being, which reveals the falsity of this adverse mental influence. In Christian Science, Mind is understood as infinite, and therefore the only Mind. There’s no foundation for division in a singular Mind, and therefore, there is truly no division. In understanding this, the truth of our unbreakable unity with God and one another comes to light.
Our need is to know and prove this by spiritually perceiving that division has no basis, no substance, beyond our consent to accept its seeming existence, and refusing to give that consent.
In the early days of the Christian Science movement, Mary Baker Eddy wrote a letter within which she expressed concern about growing factions among her early followers, and identified the nature of that division. She referred to Jesus’ parable of the tares and the wheat, in which the tares (weeds) appeared among a householder’s crop of wheat. She wrote of those at loggerheads, “Why can they not learn when these tares spring up among the wheat that, as the Scripture says, ‘an enemy has done this[.]’ If only they knew the cause and did not conclude it sprang from legitimate sources they would master this error” (Mary Baker Eddy to Caroline W. Frame, May 1, 1888, L12804, The Mary Baker Eddy Library; © The Mary Baker Eddy Collection).
Surely this also applies to each of our nations, too. The antidote by which we master the error of divisiveness is understanding that the sole legitimate source of everyone’s thoughts is our common creator. Whatever mire of material-mindedness seems real in us or others, as God’s image we truly reflect the Christly discernment to identify and reject the assertions of our common enemy. In fact, we have the inherent capacity to discern that no such enemy truly exists to influence anyone. In the infinitude of divine Mind, there is no carnal mind. When the glorious blaze of Mind’s loving self-assertiveness brings this to light through Christ, it yields a harvest of healing.
As we increasingly recognize Mind’s allness and the carnal mind’s nothingness, “all that now unites us” will indeed prove ever more “sweet and lasting,” and that “closer bond of union” will be forged in every “blest land of love.”
Tony Lobl, Associate Editor