Despite the glowing images sometimes presented, “family” often includes challenges as well as blessings. And, of course, there are multiple types of families, such as work, church, and even neighborhoods. It’s likely that we reside in one or all of these families, and to establish a harmonious environment may require patience and a sense of humor. Harmony in music is created note by note. When blended properly with other notes, individual sounds create a beautiful, harmonious melody. I’ve found that family harmony can also be established when discord is dispelled by the power of divine Love.
Here are some ways to compose our own beautiful melody, note by note, or in other words, prayer by prayer.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, writes, “God is our Father and our Mother, our Minister and the great Physician: He is man’s only real relative on earth and in heaven” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 151). To me, this is the first note in our melody. God, as Parent, is Life and the only source of life for each one of us. This means we are all sisters and brothers on earth and in heaven. Our family is limitless!
God’s family isn’t made up of differing personalities, but of individual expressions of Him. This truth removes all sense of competition, rivalry, jealousy, and daily irritation. The sun is reflected by its rays. As the ray is the natural outcome of the sun, so man—that’s you and me as we truly are—is united with and expresses his Father-Mother, divine Love.
God’s family isn’t made up of differing personalities, but of individual expressions of Him.
In families there may be disagreements because individuals are at different places in their lives. They may also have different hopes and goals and thoughts about ways to achieve them. Discord, the opposite of harmony, would claim that these differences must inevitably result in clashes and misunderstanding.
These warring elements are driven by mortal mind’s relentless claim that each of us has a personality, which is both good and evil. What we actually include and express are not personality traits but spiritual qualities such as joy, kindness, patience, intelligence.
This approach can make a real difference. At one time a feeling of hatred toward a relative was healed when I acknowledged one small good thing about him. That simple action dissolved the hardness in my heart, and I was quickly able to appreciate him for his good qualities. Mrs. Eddy writes: “Christian Science despoils the kingdom of evil, and pre-eminently promotes affection and virtue in families and therefore in the community ” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pp. 102–103). My experience with this relative certainly proved that to be true.
A harmonious environment doesn’t come about because everyone is the same or thinks the same or likes the same books, food, or entertainment. Harmony is established because we acknowledge that all of God’s ideas live, move, and have their being in the same divine Mind. If that is true, then where can inharmony gain a foothold? The truth is that it can’t.
Family members are often assigned roles such as slow learner, awkward around strangers, and so on. Thank goodness such labels are easy to remove and do not leave any sticky residue when we realize they have never been part of us or anyone. A store label showing the price of an object never becomes part of the object. So we can remove labels that incorrectly define our value in terms of personality traits instead of the spiritual reality of our being.
Rather than trying to love a mortal, material person, we turn thought to the idea, man, that God created, as described in the first chapter of Genesis in the Bible. This idea, man, is spiritual and perfect, reflecting his perfect Creator, God. Who couldn’t love perfect man! With that image in thought, we can look at our family members—whether they are church members, co-workers, cousins, or a spouse—with new eyes. Then, in place of the one who seems to be annoying, careless, neglectful, dishonest, and so on, we see the man of God’s creating.
Sometimes we may try too hard to fix what appears to be broken. If that happens, it may be time to step back and allow divine Love to do its work. Acknowledge that everyone has their own angels—their own inspired messages from God—and can hear them in the way that they can understand.
Starting on this basis, your prayers aren’t trying to “fix” a broken unit but are focused on seeing that unity is a spiritual fact. Whether we are facing an angry sibling, hostile in-laws, or any of the other myriad ways error tries to claim to be part of our family, we can trust our prayers to be effective. They do not go out into the ether and disappear. Affection based in divine Love, not personal sense, has spiritual roots, deep and strong. It will withstand temptation and resistance to good. Science and Health explains, “Human affection is not poured forth vainly, even though it meet no return. Love enriches the nature, enlarging, purifying, and elevating it” (p. 57).
Affection based in divine Love, not personal sense, has spiritual roots, deep and strong.
Being a peacemaker does not mean that we carry the burden of creating peace in our family. It is to be at peace in your own thought, knowing that affection and virtue are the natural outcome of listening for God’s direction. You are not responsible for anyone’s happiness, but your responsibility is to know God is the Father-Mother of all, and that He is all-harmonious. Peace comes through this knowing.
These are a few of the limitless number of notes in heaven, harmony, that help blend individuals together. It is essential that we always begin with God, our Father-Mother. Note the word our—God is the perfect Parent, excluding no one.
For more on this subject, listen to the live online chat Michele Newport did on Harmony in the family—how to get it, how to keep it: sentinel.christianscience.com/chat/family-harmony
In the Lord’s Prayer, which Jesus gave to all humanity, he placed each individual in the family of “our Father.” Christ, the spiritual message from divine Love to all humanity, which Jesus fully expressed, is ever-present for all of us.
This spiritual truth is emphasized in Science and Health: “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” (pp. 469-470). What a refrain for our prayerful song: One; whole; brotherhood; unity; spiritual power. Surely this is God’s masterpiece!
Michele Newport is a Christian Science practitioner who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
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