As people all over the world are taking a stand for individual rights, reports of ethnic divisions fill the news. Many yearn for stability, as governments fall and people assert their sovereignty. One might think, "How can I even begin to help? I can barely handle my own problems. How can I possibly have a healing impact on the world?"
One day as I passed a shop in downtown Chicago, I noticed a poster in their window. It showed smiling faces of people from all over the world, with the quotation "Our true nationality is mankind," by H. G. Wells, written boldly across the top. The statement made me pause. I looked at the people all around me on the street, people from all walks of life. Deep in my heart I knew that we were all members of one family—God's family—and that the true identity of each one of us is His spiritual image and likeness.
But I also knew that I needed to understand this more. Christian Science had taught me that simply thinking about the brotherhood of man was not going to heal the deeply entrenched divisions, fears, and misunderstandings. True unity had to come from a deeper understanding of man's oneness with his source, God.
The book of Jeremiah represents God as saying, "And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them." This "way" was clearly illustrated in the life of Christ Jesus. Jesus laid the groundwork for people to recognize the brotherhood of man. The transforming power behind Jesus' work was love—not just a human sense of love but love as a pure and incorruptible manifestation of God, divine Love. It's this impartial, omnipresent power of God that heals.
The transforming power is love—not just a human sense of love but love as a pure and incorruptible manifestation of God, divine Love.
I prayed to know how I could make a greater contribution. It came to me that I could love both myself and everyone around me much more. I could love in the way Jesus taught, without dissimulation.
I began to watch my thoughts and to notice how I was looking at and thinking about people. Was I really looking to see God's spiritual man, or was I accepting surface appearances? I prayed diligently to behold God's image and likeness in myself and others—to see the goodness and purity of our true identities.
The more conscious I became of Love's might and presence, the more I began to see myself and others in a new light. This was not without an effort, not without vigilance, but it made me see why Jesus was so confident of an individual's ability to have a healing impact on the world. He certainly proved this ability. So spiritual, so pure was his consciousness, that people were drawn to him from far distances to be healed.
We each can cultivate the spirituality that will enable us to heal, following Jesus' example. In Pulpit and Press Mrs. Eddy writes, "Know, then, that you possess sovereign power to think and act rightly, and that nothing can dispossess you of this heritage and trespass on Love." To the extent that we recognize this power and live it, we'll see how we're able to have a healing effect on the world around us.
Right around the time that I had seen the shop-window poster, I went to see a movie. I entered the dark theater as the previous show was ending. Hoping to slip into a seat without disturbing anyone, I quickly turned into a row. I hadn't noticed a woman slouched down in her chair until I entered the row. She yelled that I was on her foot. As I apologized, she said, "Just go by before you kill somebody." Even after I sat down, she continued to make comments and even moaned aloud about the foot.
I felt there was more to it than just the fact that I had stepped on her foot. I had the distinct feeling that there was racial tension, and that she had felt more than physically stepped on. As I sat there, I turned to God in prayer. I began to think about God's love for each one of us, realizing that there wasn't anything in His children, reflecting divine, infinite Love, to hurt or be hurt. My identity didn't include the power to put someone else down. And there was no actual power that could rob either one of us of our divine heritage of peace. I knew I could trust the authority of these thoughts as expressing the healing presence of Christ, which always has the final word.
As the next show started, I felt someone come up behind me and put her arms around me. It was the same woman. She told me how sorry she was for making such scene. She said that afterward her daughter had sat down next to her. The daughter had remembered passing me on the way out of the restroom (we had smiled at each other) and said, "Mom, that woman is so nice." We talked and laughed a few moments more, like old friends, feeling the presence of our Father-Mother God.
I enjoyed the movie, but not nearly as much as what I had witnessed about God's love that night. I felt walls melting in my consciousness, opening the way to a clearer understanding of the goodness of man. I've continued to rejoice in how natural it was, in a dark city theater, to have a woman I didn't know come up and hug me. The Christ had dissolved the appearance of harm and separation and had revealed the naturalness of understanding and love.
Referring to the ultimate victory over all sin, Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health, "A louder song, sweeter than has ever before reached high heaven, now rises clearer and nearer to the great heart of Christ; for the accuser is not there, and Love sends forth her primal and everlasting strain." As we put down hatred through the power of Love, we'll feel our part in the song that reaches high heaven. It is divine Love that heals all sin and separation and reveals the purity of our oneness with God.
If ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect