One Father, one family
“Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?” (Malachi 2:10). These questions profoundly urge us to search our hearts to see if we know and practice in our daily lives that, as the image, or expression, of God, we are all brothers and sisters in God’s universal family—not divided by race, gender, age, class, or ethnicity, but entirely spiritual, reflecting the oneness of God. In the United States and throughout the world today, we see evidence of division and strife that cries out for our prayerful attention.
I had an experience some years ago that taught me a valuable lesson about our place in God’s family. I was given a teaching assignment to work with a small group of first and second graders who needed an extra boost to become better readers. From the first day, one student made it clear that she did not want to be in the class, didn’t like me, and didn’t want to participate. I prayed daily about this and made every effort to engage her and let her know she was valued.
Innocence, purity, and cooperation were what really gave evidence of this child’s identity.
One day, after about a month of instruction, she walked out of my class. The principal walked her back to her regular classroom, and that night I humbly reached out to God, asking for help with this dear one.
It came to me that I had been unknowingly accepting some stereotypes about this child, and I thanked God for this gentle rebuke. Lines from a poem by Mary Baker Eddy titled “The New Century” came to me: “ ’Tis writ on earth, on leaf and flower: / Love hath one race, one realm, one power” (Poems, p. 22).
In her textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mrs. Eddy writes: “There is but one creator and one creation. This creation consists of the unfolding of spiritual ideas and their identities, which are embraced in the infinite Mind and forever reflected” (pp. 502–503). In this one and only creation, there are no divisions, by race or otherwise, and consequently no limiting traits or characteristics associated with these mortal classifications. Each identity is unique and distinct, defined by God and not by mortal labels.
I could see that the God-bestowed qualities of innocence, purity, receptivity to good, teachableness, and cooperation were what really gave evidence of this child’s identity. I thought about the flowers in a beautiful garden, individually showing forth loveliness and color and contributing to a harmonious, complete picture.
A poster in my classroom, “Labels are for Jelly Jars,” had always been a good reminder for me, and it certainly applied in this case. Within just a couple of weeks, the situation with this student turned around completely, and there was a lovely revealing of who this little girl really was. Her sweet, happy nature was shining through, good academic progress was made that year, and I often received a big hug when she left our sessions.
The fact that we all have one Father means that everything we have and everything we are come from God and are good. God, not race, ethnicity, or ancestral background, determines our identity. Our common spiritual origin signifies that divine Mind, another name for God, is the only source of our intelligence, our understanding, and our infinite capacity for good. This means that no one has more or less of the good that our loving Father-Mother bestows on all.
God, not race, ethnicity, or ancestral background, determines our identity.
My teaching experience helped solidify for me that all of God’s creation reflects and expresses Love in unselfishness, kindness, and understanding, leaving no room for strife, hatred, or misunderstanding. As Love itself, God gives each of us the ability to see and feel the presence of Love, moment by moment. There is no fear that our God-given opportunities can be taken away or that God’s plan of progress, goodness, and abundance for all can in any way be thwarted. And understanding that we all have one Father, divine Love, unites us, hand to hand and heart to heart, in holy unity and brotherhood.
How grateful we can be that God maintains the unity of His creation and its oneness with Him—“one Father with His universal family, held in the gospel of Love” (Science and Health, p. 577).