It was a beautiful, sunny morning when I went to meet some friends for breakfast at a restaurant in a neighboring town.
Shortly after I arrived at the restaurant, the conversation turned to politics. Before long my friends and I were engaged in a heated discussion. Some of the guys became loud and started using offensive language to make their point; they had very little tolerance for other opinions. Although these were people I had known and worked with for many years—and I knew them to be candid—I was still taken aback by their aggressiveness. In fact, I was so embarrassed by the tone of the conversation, I considered getting up and leaving.
Political discourse today can be harsh, to say the least. In some cases, it has led to violence between those who hold differing opinions on a range of issues, including how certain decisions in government will affect people socially or economically. Too often, we fall into choosing a particular side of a debate, and then feel frustrated or disappointed when the other side wins.
Right there during that breakfast, I began to think more deeply about this atmosphere of divisiveness and what I could do in terms of helping to heal it, especially as a Christian Scientist. Trying to temper that morning’s heated discussion with words would have been inadequate. The situation illustrated clearly to me that the complexity of various issues often inflames emotions and creates feelings of powerlessness. I realized that the underlying problem is the belief that there are many minds and opposing powers, with seemingly irreconcilable positions, at work in human affairs.
I began to think more deeply about this atmosphere of divisiveness and what I could do in terms of helping to heal it.
However, Christian Science challenges this belief on the basis that there is one God, one Mind, and that man is the spiritual expression of this one infinite Mind, the true governor of all. I’ve learned from studying Christian Science that when there’s conflict, the path to reconciliation begins with establishing our oneness with God, which helps us find a sense of unity with one another in the understanding that all of God’s children reflect divine Mind, the origin of all truth and of every right idea. There is no disunity—no room for factions—in this Mind, since all is Mind and Mind’s harmonious expression, the sons and daughters of God.
My prayers, which began during that heated breakfast conversation, broadened to include the political atmosphere so prevalent today. It seems from all that we read, hear, and see that some groups or factions within society want to fuel conflict and hatred, regardless of the issue. Yet, the Bible teaches, “God is love” (I John 4:8), and that we must “love one another,” as Christ Jesus said (John 13:34). Through Christian Science I’ve learned that it is natural to love because God’s child is both the object and expression of His love. Our true nature is loving, and is expressed in patience, respect, kindness, and all the qualities of infinite divine Love that we include as God’s child.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, wrote in her book Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896: “…Love is the Principle of unity, the basis of all right thinking and acting; it fulfils the law. We see eye to eye and know as we are known, reciprocate kindness and work wisely, in proportion as we love” (p. 117).
Animosity and hatred cannot exist within an atmosphere where divine Love is expressed, since Love is all powerful, all loving, always present, and has no opposite. When we understand this, the belief that hatred can extinguish love makes as much sense as thinking that darkness can prevent the light of day from appearing. It’s just not possible!
The path to reconciliation begins with establishing our oneness with God, which helps us find a sense of unity with one another in the understanding that all of God’s children reflect divine Mind.
Shortly after this breakfast with my friends, I was given a copy of the book A Century of Christian Science Healing, which was published in 1966, one hundred years after the discovery of Christian Science. As I looked through the last chapter, my gaze fell on the following paragraph with the subtitle “The Healing of the Nations”: “Whether a Christian Scientist participates in the social battles of our day as a liberal or a conservative, a fighter or a reconciler, a partisan or an independent, a private or a general, his ultimate purpose is to heal. Yet most Christian Scientists would probably agree that up to now only a small fraction of the healing dynamic of their religion has been utilized in relation to the urgent collective problems facing the world” (p. 251). What a call to action to engage in more persistent and consistent prayer for humanity!
The next paragraph in that chapter begins with a statement that could have been written today: “The whole human race cries aloud for the healing of its dividedness.” Then it suggests that the remedy is the realization indicated in a line from a poem by Mrs. Eddy: “Love hath one race, one realm, one power” (Poems, p. 22).
I was so very grateful to have found this excerpt and to be reminded that divine Love is the governing, unifying power of the universe.
The next time I met the same group of friends for breakfast, we had a great conversation. We continue to meet fairly regularly, and on the occasions when the conversation turns to politics, we talk in a much more civil manner.
I was grateful to have had this experience, because it nudged me to pray more diligently about issues like this that urgently need our individual and collective prayers.
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