God’s love transcends borders
Millions of people have fled their homes in Ukraine, and I, like so many others, have been fervently praying.
I’ve been turning to the Bible, which has so many stories about people fleeing. Joseph and Mary fled with the baby Jesus when they feared for his life; Moses fled to hide after he killed a slave driver; Jacob fled when he stole his brother’s birthright; others fled droughts and famine or were driven out by wars.
Whether for political, environmental, safety, or religious reasons—or even if simply in search of a better life—the loss of one’s home can be frustrating and frightening, and when such displacement happens on a large scale, it can present destabilizing factors, shape-shifting nations worldwide.
Considering all this, I found I needed to pray first to free myself from any unnatural reluctance to delve into such a multifaceted, troubling issue in the world. Psalm 91 assures all those seeking safety that “because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways” (verses 9–11).
God is our home and refuge. Starting with God assures us that safety is right in the midst of what might look like chaos. A settled, God-inspired consciousness is a calm, clear, and secure foundation from which to perceive answers for ourselves or others. Abiding in the conviction that God, divine Love, is everyone’s true habitation allows us to take whatever steps are needed with grace and poise.
Those who live in the habitation of Love can trust it.
I’ve found wonderful help by prayerfully exploring seven synonyms for God given in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy: “Divine Principle, Life, Truth, Love, Soul, Spirit, Mind” (p. 115). To mentally consider home as a conscious awareness of divine Love’s presence diminishes fear and the devastating impression that what was home to us is no longer viable. When we define God as our home, we can never be shocked into believing that all is lost—for anyone. Instead, we stay at home in the consciousness of God, good, as our ever-present guide and see divine Love as home for all.
I have a small example that has buoyed my prayers. After graduating college, I volunteered with a United States governmental organization focused on helping fight poverty across the country. I was assigned to a city with thousands of immigrants, to help them improve language and reading skills. I prayerfully supported this effort by understanding that God, infinite Love, was the basis of our work.
We created a tutoring center, but at first no one came. Activity increased when we didn’t focus on a sense of gaping lack but instead appreciated the immigrants’ culture and what they did have. We had seen so much love expressed in warmth and familial caring that it was easy to see that Love was their true home.
It reminded me of the Bible account of Elisha and the widow who could not pay her debt (see II Kings 4:1-7). Elisha asked her, “What hast thou in the house?” In other words, what did she have rather than what did she lack—and she replied that she had only a pot of oil. This oil represented God’s, divine Love’s, constant and abundant provision and care for her. As the woman followed Elisha’s instructions to borrow many empty containers and pour the oil into them, she found that after they were all filled, there was still plenty of oil remaining. The oil was sold, and the profits paid the creditors—ultimately saving her sons from becoming indentured servants.
Seeing divine Love expressed as home was especially roused in me after I lived with an immigrant family for a few weeks during my time there. Each morning started around my host family’s large dining room table. There were plates of freshly made tortillas steaming under kitchen towels, a heaping bowl of scrambled eggs, a variety of salsas—and an overarching sense of love from the family’s beaming mother as we ate to the full.
Love has the power to eliminate fear, strife, and crime and to reveal higher ideas.
When I was growing up, breakfast usually consisted of grabbing a piece of toast before racing out the door, and my host family’s breakfast celebrations and warmth showed me that divine Love was home right there. Their sense of inclusivity and generosity was the daily bread spoken of in the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). This perspective softened and broadened my own perspective. It was not lost on me that I was the foreigner in their home. And there appeared to be no sense of limited resources in this loving family.
In Truth, there is no loss of home when we abide in divine Love as our core home. In fact, we are each “the guest of God,” as Mrs. Eddy wrote in Science and Health: “Pilgrim on earth, thy home is heaven; stranger, thou art the guest of God” (p. 254). Divine Love has no borders or human language, but instead fuels a willingness to help each other.
The spiritual love expressed in our prayers will keep multiplying, like the widow’s oil in the Bible story. Those who live in the habitation of divine Love can trust it. Though we may not all be able to host those who’ve left their homeland for whatever reason, we can mentally prepare a place for them in the arms of Love.
It’s that same trust in divine Love that settled arguments and painful issues relating to large-scale displacement and immigration in the community in which I worked. Factions that turn to turmoil and war rather than to divine Love, God, cannot win. Living in the mental habitation of divine Love provides safety from strife, crime, and disease. Love has the power to eliminate fear and reveal higher ideas.
Although answers to the need or desire to leave a cherished home aren’t easy, infinite Love and its resources guide us and provide a productive consciousness from which to operate. Divine Love is our real home, and there can be no foreignness or borders in this Love. As we abide in God, answers can come on any side of an issue. When we live here, what cannot be accomplished?
As Hymn 534 in the Christian Science Hymnal: Hymns 430–603 says:
The sure provisions of my God
Attend me all my days;
O may Your house be my abode,
And all my work be praise.
(Paraphrase of Psalm 23, Sternhold and Watts, alt.)