Friday, December 29, 2006

Angels for all ages

Spiritual resource to share: trust

Mary Baker Eddy defines angels as "God's thoughts passing to man" and I always have this wonderful imagery of an enlightened gentleness surrounding my kids throughout their day, guiding and guarding. I read a helpful article from Although the article was about the author's two year old, I found that its message resonated with kids (and adults) of all ages. She writes about an important lesson she learned about caring for her children:

(I learned that) if my two-year-old could be kept safe, and even taught a small life-lesson with neither of her parents nearby, then it was a sign that my children are actually responsible to, and responsive to, a universe of spiritual laws (rather than to a person) that, through God, emerge in their lives one way or another.

Knowing my kids are responsive and responsible to a universe of spiritual laws is especially comforting as my kids start making more and more of their own decisions without input from the parents. Neighbors, friends, teachers, family members, messages from media, websites like and have all provided angel messages. They are surrounded!

In another section from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes,

My angels are exalted thoughts, appearing at the door of some sepulchre, in which human belief has buried its fondest earthly hopes. With white fingers they point upward to a new and glorified trust, to higher ideals of life and its joys. Angels are God's representatives. These upward-soaring beings never lead towards self, sin, or materiality, but guide to the divine Principle of all good, whither every real individuality, image, or likeness of God, gathers. By giving earnest heed to these spiritual guides they tarry with us, and we entertain "angels unawares."

To share your thoughts on this or to explore this idea further, please feel free to be in contact with me, add your own comments below, email this article to a friend, or add to the healing finds and sites on the web to the right.

Photo by Kim Korinek

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The death (and life) of Dogslayer

Spiritual resource to share: understanding eternal life

Dogslayer was our last hamster, having been named for the curious effect he had from our Rottweiler - Mocha. At their first introduction, the hamster stretched forward to smell Mocha's nose, which sent Mocha cowering back. No amount of coaxing could get Mocha to at least touch the hamster. Hence the name, Dogslayer.

Both sons are teenagers now, so when when Dogslayer died, it was not a very big deal. We put his body in a nice padded gift box and lovingly placed it in the garbage. That was it.

The first time the boys experienced the death of their first hamster was when they were about 6 and 9. It was a big deal. My younger son cried, which made my older son upset because it was his pet, and both of them didn't understand why the pet died.

In praying about how to explain immortality, death, life, I came up with something that I think helped them both. We talked about what a loving home we gave to the hamster and this home probably made the hamster feel very loved and cared for. But the clincher was to understand that life goes on and all the spiritual qualities of this hamster - being adorable, satisfied, friendly, funny - go on as well.

Then, I asked my sons to think of a number. One gave me the number 8. I wrote "8" on our chalkboard. We could all see that written number. Then I erased the number "8" on the chalkboard. "Where did the 8 go?" I asked. "Is there no longer the number 8 because we can't see it anymore?" Well, of course, the answer is that the eight always exists because it is an idea. From here, it was an easy analogy to help us see that the wonderful qualities of the hamster are still with us even if we can't see the hamster anymore. I think they got it. Enough so, that soon after, we got ourselves another hamster.

Mary Baker Eddy often refers to death as a transition or a phase:

In the illusion of death, mortals wake to the knowledge of two facts: (1) that they are not dead; (2) that they have but passed the portals of a new belief.

Death is but another phase of the dream that existence can be material. Nothing can interfere with the harmony of being nor end the existence of man in Science. ... God, Life, Truth, and Love make man undying.

I have often looked back at that lesson with my sons, illustrating that life is eternal. When we understand who we are spiritually - as an idea or child of God - we can never lose one another. God, Life, Truth and Love make us undying, continuing on to grow, learn, progress. And understanding this, we can find peace in our own eternal and infinite nature.

To share your thoughts on this or to explore this idea further, please feel free to be in contact with me, add your own comments below, email this article to a friend, or add to the healing finds and sites on the web to the right.

Monday, December 25, 2006

peace and joy and power

Spiritual resource to share: Christmas

Happy Christmas everyone!

It is 2am and I just got back from a large family gathering, where we all welcomed in the newest member of the family at 2-1/2 weeks old. In the bustle and happy noise, I held her as she slept and thought that even now, "Unto us a child is born." Have you ever felt this when looking into a newborn's eyes - such a deep and untamed calm?

Christmas is about holding that perfect child of hope and healing in our hearts, and nurturing it and watching it grow throughout the year. I wish for you all times for stillness, activity, spontaneous joy and laughter, lots and lots of laughter.

Just wanted to share a loved few thoughts from Mary Baker Eddy about Christmas:

I love to observe Christmas in quietude, humility, benevolence, charity, letting good will towards man, eloquent silence, prayer, and praise express my conception of Truth's appearing. The splendor of this nativity of Christ reveals infinite meanings and gives manifold blessings.

To share your thoughts on this or to explore this idea further, please feel free to be in contact with me, add your own comments below, email this article to a friend, or add to the healing finds and sites on the web to the right.

Friday, December 22, 2006

receiving christmas

Spiritual resource to share: receptivity/returning to our roots

So much of my understanding about Christmas has been to focus on the giving part – you know – "T'is better to give than to receive", but after reading "Making Room" by Chris Irby, I realized that there is much to be said about receiving.

Receiving is that open state of expectancy. To "receive" comes from the Latin recipere which means "regain, take back," (from re- "back" + -cipere - "to take.")

"O come, O come, Emmanuel" sings a Christmas song – Come, it welcomes us to accept that God is with us, always with us.

So when we sing “Joy to the world, the Lord is come, Let earth receive her king….” We are singing that the earth take back her king and regain her primary relationship with God.

And when we sing "O little town of Bethlehem "

How silently, how silently,
The wondrous gift is given;
Where meekness will receive him, still
The dear Christ enters in.

...we are singing to humbly reclaim the wondrous gift that was given to us.

Continuing on the "take back/regain" theme, God's wonderful gifts are given to us: love, protection, supply, and so on.

How do we receive these gifts? Meekness, gratitude, confident expectancy of good, self-forgetfulness, purity, affection, trustworthiness - and all those things that make us childlike - these qualities of thought help us receive or "regain" these gifts and recognize that these gifts have always been ours.

Now, in humbleness of mind, are we ready to receive them.

Dropping the baggage of false identity, fear, doubt, self-hatred, lack - we regain what has always been ours - the kingdom of God - which to me means understanding God loves us. God is good. We have a divine purpose. And we are given all that we need.

Happy Christmas everyone! And I mean everyone. May we all receive Christmas - the very fulfillment of hope - all year round.

It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire
when ye pray, believe that ye receive them,
and ye shall have them.

Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of,
before ye ask Him.

— Christ Jesus

A note about the picture: Carl Bloch's work has intrigued me in that his detail of expression is remarkable. Born in 1834, he was recognized as perhaps the greatest artist ever to interpret the life and death of Christ - and one of Denmark's, and Europe's, greatest portrait artists.

To share your thoughts on this or to explore this idea further, please feel free to be in contact with me, add your own comments below, email this article to a friend, or add to the healing finds and sites on the web to the right.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

too blessed to be stressed

Spiritual resource to share: blessings

A word game: Did you ever notice how familiar the word 'bless' is to the word 'bliss'? Bless has many meanings: to endow, to preserve, to protect, to approve, to praise and to glorify and to invoke divine care. When we bless others or feel blessed, we feel the protection, our endowment of good, the approval of God and stand on the understanding that God is all powerful and all good. This is blissful!

The preface to Science and Health starts out "To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, today is big with blessings." Leaning, yielding, accepting, acknowledging God's sustaining control - these ring out peace and wring out stress.

We have a new baby in the family - a new niece - plump and healthy, she is just radiantly beautiful (and this after only seeing one picture of her!) For all the flurry of activity and details that happen this time of the year, her arrival has helped to put all things into perspective. Love is what it is all about. Love is what brings forth the coming of Christ. Love is what we are given, "filling up and spilling over" an endless waterfall.

And now for a cute kid story: A mother was badly stressed out. Details, responsibilities and the fear of lack must have all ganged up on her that day. She was quietly sobbing to herself "Oh, I am such a flop as a mother!" Her little girl heard her and came up to her and said "Mommy, don't be so sad. In the Bible it says, 'Fear not, little flop, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.'"

No matter who we feel we are, what struggles we have, God is right there pouring forth more than we can even fathom. Mary Baker Eddy helps to bring this point home:

God is Love. Can we ask Him to be more? God is intelligence. Can we inform the infinite Mind of anything He does not already comprehend? Do we expect to change perfection? Shall we plead for more at the open fount, which is pouring forth more than we accept? The unspoken desire does bring us nearer the source of all existence and blessedness.

What that quote says to me is that we are home. We cannot go any farther than God. We have arrived right at His door.

And I'll close with yet another cute kid remark made as a response to the question "What does love mean?" (love those cute kids!): "Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen." Such blessedness, such bliss!

Any blessings come your way lately?

To share your thoughts on this or to explore this idea further, please feel free to be in contact with me, add your own comments below, email this article to a friend, or add to the healing finds and sites on the web to the right.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Miracles and believing in each other

Spiritual resource to share: possibilities

My son's winter concert was everything a middle-schooler's concert should be: sweet, funny, idealistic, lots of relatives oohing and cooing with all the latest technology to record this moment, and all of us seeing another generation grow up right in front of our eyes.

One of the choir's songs sung about miracles and the ability to believe in one another. It was a gentle rebuke to what had happened a few days ago.

A few days ago, threatening notes were discovered warning of guns and shooting at our local high school. The school administration acted swiftly and safely with a preventative lockdown in the middle of the day for about five hours while police investigated the situation. Everyone was safe, and there was no incident.

Everyone dealt with this professionally and calmly. Everyone knows there is a racial issue that needs healing. Meetings with parents and the community are underway right now. I know I am speaking in general "everyone" terms, but I am giving you a broad sweep of the picture here.

In praying about this, I went back to that dear little song from those middle-schoolers, and asked: what about miracles? Miracles are defined by Mary Baker Eddy as "divinely natural." Divinely natural, so that harmony, living together peacefully and respectfully are seen as normal and natural, not some far-away, hard-to-achieve goal.

To see this as divinely natural, we start by understanding the divine - God - and His divine creation - that would be us. We are divine, we are of God, we are made in His image and likeness. With this understanding, harmony is seen as the transforming power it is - and what may seem to be a miracle, becomes a divinely natural occurrence, something that we all learn humanly.

To believe in one another is to see each other as a child of God.

You know, the racial tension that is being felt is arguably passed down from generation to generation. A flare-up happens, and the confused thought doesn't know where it came from or why it happened. The God-like thought knows that this is hereditary hatred and injustice that claims to be active on all sides, but has no original authority.

And prayer that dives down even deeper, below this level, reaches the pure and primitive nature of who we are, who we all are as children of God, and what our true spiritual nature is about. This is the type of prayer that uproots and decapitates the destructive arrogance and replaces it with a humble, fertile and earnest love.

Each of us has an inherent dignity, worth and distinctive purpose. Each of us has a loving Father, a tender Mother. And this Father - Mother God never leaves us and has governed us, and continues to govern us all.

Understanding miracles and believing in each other opens up possibilities - all kinds of possibilities - for peace, progress and a deep settled joy.

So how about you? How have miracles and believing in each other opened up new possibilities for you?

To share your thoughts on this or to explore this idea further, please feel free to be in contact with me, add your own comments below, email this article to a friend, or add to the healing finds and sites on the web to the right.

Friday, December 15, 2006

I am here

Spiritual resource to share: presence

I remember the countless times that one of my boys took either a tumble, got scared, or felt lost and was so easily comforted by my presence and those words "I am here." Potent stuff. This reminded me of how God must care for each of us and helped me get through a rough patch a few days ago.

I had a couple of days where I kept having this he-said-she-said kind of argument going on in my head. I just struggled against this ruminating, rehearsing and repeating thought. I realized it was part of a more disturbing sinking feeling of seeing everything that I felt most sacred turning inward, trivial and forgettable.

I prayed and wrestled some more. And then, what happened next was quite lovely. Some hymns came in to save me. Whenever one of these thoughts would come up, immediately a hymn would sweep in and yank out the unwelcomed thought. Another thought and another hymn would sweep it out. Soon, most of my day was spent singing and sweeping as I did what needed to be done for that day.

The following day I had the same thing happen. But more, I could feel God's presence - God saying to me "I am here."

The next day, I spent more time in prayer. At first I was simply pleading to feel the assurance of God governing. This slowly turned me toward a subtle suggestion that I could love. This felt fresh. I could love. And the baggage of past accomplishments which moulded my future expectations could be surrendered to a larger plan.

Understanding God as Principle, Love and Truth, I could yield and trust Principle to establish the right reasoning I wanted to see in this situation. I could trust Truth to reveal whatever needed revealing, and I could trust Love to "remove properly whatever is offensive." God, our Father - Mother God, does not leave any of his children comfortless. "Trust Truth" - was my other line of defense; "Let in the light" - was another line of defense.

In feeling the largeness of God's presence, the mental arguments stopped. Something fresh was brewing and I knew that my part in this was to love and to comfort.

"I am here." What comforting power and presence. It is made up of I AM, as God names himself in Genesis "I am that I am." All that God is - is here right now - in all His fullness and possibilities, in all Her tenderness and nearness.

I'll leave you with an excerpt from an old favorite poem entitled Countdown to Sunrise by Rosemary Cobham:

I am His own, not wondering what I am;
Contented to be the expression of His I AM;
And in the marvelously clear light of this awareness,
I lightly rise to explore eternal day.

(Photo by Gabe Korinek)

To share your thoughts on this or to explore this idea further, please feel free to be in contact with me, add your own comments below, email this article to a friend, or add to the healing finds and sites on the web to the right.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

"The world is made up of stories...."

Spiritual resource to share: your story

"The world is made up of stories, not atoms." Muriel Ruykuyser

I had a meeting today with most of the area's spiritual leadership, otherwise known as a ministerial association. I like this group. Open-minded, respectful of diversity, it sees in itself the possibility of coming together to respond to social issues in our community and bring healing and a common unity.

Today's meeting was about the need to breakthrough a culture of failure in the high school, as there is more violence breaking out between the white students and the Anishinaabe students (also known as the Ojibwe). One of the members of the ministerial association is Anishinaabe, and he and his brother brought the rest of us along to understand more about this nation.

Anishinaabe means "first people" and in the broadest sense, they explained, we are all first people. We all need each other to live in peace. Unlike many with a European heritage who can go back to one's homeland, the homeland of the Anishinaabe is where we are standing. Their heritage and identity is in their stories.

There is much more to say here, but the one thing that struck me is the humble and persistent realization that we are all part of one another's stories. Acknowledging this and then taking responsibility for it removes the arrogance and ignorance that would distance us from solutions. And, being a part of one another's stories, we have great potential to bring healing.

To illustrate this point, we played a game. (This is a GREAT game for family gatherings, driving the point home how much we add to the richness of each other's lives!)

This is how the game is played:

One person starts by standing and saying a phrase that could be the beginning, ending or middle of a story. The next person gets up and stands to one side of that person and adds a phrase or a sentence or two, and then the two of them recite their part of the story. (People can add their part either at the beginning or end, or anywhere in the middle.) With each additional person, the story unfolds and is told. This continues until everyone has added their bit to the story. Finally when everyone has contributed, the full story is told, each person saying their part. If you want to designate a winner, it is that person who can tell the whole story back to the group in its entirety.

Fun, yes?

As I look at my life and the people that make it up, I see how much richer my life is for knowing all these people. We are all children of God, and each of us brings that dimension of God's love (a favorite and repeating theme of mine!) to each other's stories. Understanding who we each are individually and spiritually, we can encourage, enhance and support one another's stories with the highest recognition that we are all children of God -- children of one Creator - which would make us all "the first people."

To share your thoughts on this or to explore this idea further, please feel free to be in contact with me, add your own comments below, email this article to a friend, or add to the healing finds and sites on the web to the right.

Monday, December 11, 2006

50 is now the new 30

Spiritual resource to share: agelessness

(Please note: both of the people in this picture are 30 years old.*)

Perceptions on aging are in a state of flux right now.

You have probably heard that, today, someone 50 years old is now similar in many ways to what a 30 year old used to be. So, if 50 is the new 30, what does 30 mean? The new ten? What about about ten year olds? Isn't the thought that kids are growing up too fast? Does this mean that everyone reaches 30 years old faster than usual, and then stays there for about 20 - 25 years?

And as populations the world over deepen their spiritual quest, a firmer belief in eternal life takes hold. But is life is eternal, where does that put middle age?

Okay, this may all sound like something from Jerry Seinfeld reruns, but it does kick off some wonderful thinking on aging. We readily acknowledge the wisdom of children and people rocking at 80, so old perceptions on aging are due for an extreme makeover.

Mary Baker Eddy shares these inspiring thoughts about aging:

The measurement of life by solar years robs youth and gives ugliness to age. The radiant sun of virtue and truth coexists with being. Manhood is its eternal noon, undimmed by a declining sun. As the physical and material, the transient sense of beauty fades, the radiance of Spirit should dawn upon the enraptured sense with bright and imperishable glories.

Never record ages. Chronological data are no part of the vast forever. Time-tables of birth and death are so many conspiracies against manhood and womanhood. Except for the error of measuring and limiting all that is good and beautiful, man would enjoy more than threescore years and ten and still maintain his vigor, freshness, and promise. Man, governed by immortal Mind, is always beautiful and grand. Each succeeding year unfolds wisdom, beauty, and holiness.

Life is eternal. We should find this out, and begin the demonstration thereof. Life and goodness are immortal. Let us then shape our views of existence into loveliness, freshness, and continuity, rather than into age and blight.

(*Not really. Photo from

To share your thoughts on this or to explore this idea further, please feel free to be in contact with me, add your own comments below, email this article to a friend, or add to the healing finds and sites on the web to the right.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Important weekend of prayer report on Darfur

Spiritual resource to share: prayer has posted an important article on the situation in Darfur.

A prayer for the innocent—meaning everyone—in Darfur
by Jeremy Carper

More than a thousand individuals, houses of worship, and faith-based organizations throughout the United States are expected to participate in a “Weekend of Prayer for Darfur” from December 8 to 10, 2006.

This initiative, led by the Save Darfur Coalition, is part of a continuing response
to the horrific situation in this area of the Sudan, where millions of people are displaced or have been affected by mass genocide.

Worthy efforts like the weekend of faith-based action show that prayer is as much a component of solving world problems as raising money for the victims or arousing public outcry. In my own life, I've found that prayer is not an empty response to a
challenge, but one that aligns my thought to God.

Read more by clicking here......

Learn more about the Save Darfur effort here.

Click on the Save Darfur - Weekend of Prayer home page here.

(Photo from the Save Darfur website)

To share your thoughts on this or to explore this idea further, please feel free to be in contact with me, add your own comments below, email this article to a friend, or add to the healing finds and sites on the web to the right.

Friday, December 08, 2006

'Tis the season

Spiritual resource to share: solidarity with diversity

There is much talk in the United States about changing our scrubbed politically correct holiday season back to where people of faith can openly share their Christmas greetings, and not fear of offending someone!

However, for those who celebrate Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or the myriad other types of celebrations this season, there must still be a way to honor and include all.

Here is my approach. I am a house parent for my son's school - so I get to be in touch with 7, soon to be 8 boys from all over the world that attend his school and live in his dorm's wing. This is a letter that I sent to them that I thought you might enjoy:

Hello to all the guys in Raccoon Wing!

We want to wish you all a very happy….. well, season! With you boys representing Mexico, Germany, South Korea, Russia, China and the United States, it is hard to pinpoint just how to send you wishes for this upcoming season!

Let me see if I have done my homework right in getting down most of the celebrations that you may be having:

There is Advent from the last Sunday in November to December 24th (Christian, Roman Catholic, International), St. Nicholas Day (Germany and other international) on the 6th, Bodhi Day - Buddha's Enlightenment (Buddhist) on the 8th, Virgin of Guadalupe (Mexico) on the 12th, Hanukkah (Jewish) on the 16th to the 24th, Las Posadas (Mexico) from 16th to the 25th, Winter Solstice from Dec 22nd to March 20th, Christmas (Christian, Roman Catholic, International) on the 25th, Kwanzaa (African-American - Dec. 26, 2005 - Jan 1, 2006), Eid al-adha (Islamic, Muslim) on the 31st and New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day for most on the 31st /January 1st with China and South Korea celebrating the New Year the first weeks of the solar and lunar year, and finally Russia celebrating their Orthodox Christmas on January 7th. (Click here for background.)

Whew! Did I get you all covered?

I wanted to learn more about these different celebrations to come up with good wishes to all of you who are working so hard at your studies. I found that all celebrations have much in common. And so from our family here, tucked in the northwoods of Wisconsin, we want to wish you and your families from all over the world these things:

a time for love – for family and friends to come together and to extend our homes to strangers
a time for quietness, reverence and awe –where those things we deem most sacred to us are honored
a time for peace – a recognition of our interconnectedness to each other, to our past, to our ancestors and to our future
and a time for celebration – for new beginnings, fresh starts, and hope – great hope for what life holds in store for all of us

Best wishes to you all – cookies and small gifts are on their way for each one of you to celebrate this remarkable season! You have all done a great job this first half year!!

'Tis the season for hope, peace, love and reverence. More on this theme later!

To share your thoughts on this or to explore this idea further, please feel free to be in contact with me, add your own comments below, email this article to a friend, or add to the healing finds and sites on the web to the right.

Monday, December 04, 2006

the genius of creativity leading us on

Spiritual resource to share: innovation

Indians living on the southern edge of Brazil's Amazon rainforest plan to start selling ringtones of traditional chants like 'the hunt song' and 'the healing dance' to cell phone users in China and Europe. (Joel Rodrigues-Ag/Reuters)

In 1901, in an interview with the New York Herald, Mary Baker Eddy was asked about what she felt about modern material inventions. Her response is written in the book, The First Church of Christ, scientist and Miscellany ( p. 345)

"Oh, we cannot oppose them. They all tend to newer, finer, more etherealized ways of living. They seek the finer essences. They light the way to the Church of Christ. We use them, we make them our figures of speech. They are preparing the way for us."

I loved that she recognized the fact that inventions lead to "more etherealized" ways of living - less materialistic and more spiritual or heavenly. And sure enough technology is doing all that. It is erasing national borders, adding to our store of knowledge about the world and makes various perspectives from the man on the street to around the world available at our fingertips.

For example, cell phone ring tones are now available that sing out primitive chants -- love it -- Time Magazine's top winner of the 2006 Best Inventions is - an online community media share that is "on a scale we've never seen before." And in my own life, I have found it matters very little where my patients come from - we can talk or email via computer, and I can treat them from anywhere in the world.

So back to Mary Baker Eddy's statement on how modern material inventions can light the way to the Church of Christ..... it is an interesting concept.

Research from the Barna Group indicate that more people are finding spirituality via online and this is expected to grow. In addition, there are reports that show a rise in the number of small home churches and in spirituality being actively practiced and encouraged in the workplace.

Some lesser known research with LifeWay indicates a decline in church attendance in traditional churches for two main reason: 36% said they were too busy to attend church and 46% said they left church due to perceived hypocrisy, harsh criticisms and cliques.

So how might innovation and creativity lead us on in our quest for spirituality and meaning?

We're experiencing the online spirituality now! An example: I am preparing to co-lead a church service that is advertised online and given via conference call (See I realize that those who are far from a church building, those who are home bound and those who want to check out this church anonymously can now do so, whereas before that wasn't possible. This kind of thing is happening all over. And the fact that you are reading this right now, and can look over at the wide variety of links that I have shared on the right - all pointing to spiritual perspectives on all fronts -- this is another example.

In the article "Christian Science" from the book Miscellaneous Writings, MB Eddy writes,

"This age is reaching out towards the perfect Principle of things; is pushing towards perfection in art, invention and manufacture. Why then should religion be stereotyped, and we not obtain a more perfect and practical Christianity?"

Hmmmm....hmmm.....and hmmmm...... Modern inventions leading to church, church itself being renewed, redesigned and redefined into homes and workplaces, religion not stereotyped, a more perfect and practical Christianity ...... much to think about. So what are your thoughts?

To share your thoughts on this or to explore this idea further, please feel free to be in contact with me, add your own comments below, email this article to a friend, or add to the healing finds and sites on the web to the right.

Friday, December 01, 2006

A "jihad" of prayer for peace

Spiritual resource to share: an earnest and tenacious peace

Jihad – literally means “exerted effort” or "to strive, to make a great and tenacious effort "

In October of 2001 in Germany, I was manning our publisher’s booth at the world’s largest publishing event. One of my first encounters was with a Muslim publisher who was quickly selling out of his copies of the Qur'an. We had an earnest, cordial and impassioned talk, agreeing together about the great need to understand one another and for peace. I made a gift of a copy of Science and Health to him which he gratefully accepted and he made a gift to me of the Qur'an, which I took with a grateful heart.

So began my journey to humbly understand more about Islam with the goal of more effectively praying about peace.

So, can a Christian effectively pray for peace for those of other faiths? Yes. Christ Jesus starts out his most significant prayer, called the Lord's Prayer with "Our Father, which art in heaven...." It starts with that all-inclusive word "Our".

Jesus' radical approach to love God and one another crossed limitations and prejudices against the disabled and disadvantaged, as well as religious, racial, gender and age boundaries. Unity, peace, healing, resurrection characterized Jesus' life which continues to bring us salvation today.

In Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy goes deep into Christ Jesus' work and pulls out the divine principles of his teaching, showing the underlying universal spiritual laws of his works, which she calls Christian Science. The works that Jesus did - to heal, reform and uplift thought - are possible today.

I was deeply moved when, at another publishing event, a Muslim came forward who had read Science and Health and said "This book could help unify nations in turmoil." (Yes, I said to him.)

So how have I been praying?
To target my prayer, I needed to go deeper to understand what war tries to do, and understand with more conviction the active transformative nature of peace.

War is hell. And hell is defined, in part as ".... remorse; hatred; revenge; sin; sickness; death; suffering and self-destruction; self-imposed agony….” What else would war do?

  • It would limit intelligence, resources, compassion
  • It would divide nations, make divisions within nations, within communities, families and within the self.
  • It brings death, destruction, despair, and is fueled by power mongering.

So where is God in all of this? I had to ask myself, how big is my concept of God?
Is it big enough to cover the strife, the bloodshed, and the chaos? Is Love big enough to neutralize the hate? However overwhelming this all may seem, in Science and Health it says: “The greatest wrong is but a supposititious opposite of the highest right.”

If we are overwhelmed, remember that there is a bigger power (actually an absolute Power) that can overwhelm even this – with love, purity, and peace.

Remember, God is All. Not mostly all, not sharing its allness with another power (then it wouldn’t be All, would it?). But God is it. Love is it. To the chaos of strife, we have a way out. And it is all powerful.

If war is about limitation, then our remedy is to be open and expectant of breakthrough, of infinite possibilities, giving our consent to see new solutions. Even now, our recognition of the power of good and creative solutions can help silence despair, apathy or the thought of escalating and inevitable conflict.

If war is about divisions between nations, within nations, within communities, families and within the self ( soldiers with mental illnesses, etc.), our antidote is to strive for unity and peace within our own communities and families, and then pray with that same ideal for our nation, all nations; understand that the potential for peace is inherent in each of us. The Bible states: “The kingdom of God is within you.” The loudest chaos starts to lose its influence with our own prayer of "Peace, be still."

If war brings about depravity, death, destruction, despair, we counter that nightmare by waking up to the reality of Truth. Mary Baker Eddy writes,

Because Truth is infinite, error should be known as nothing. Because Truth is omnipotent in goodness, error, Truth's opposite, has no might. Evil is but the counterpoise of nothingness. The greatest wrong is but a supposititious opposite of the highest right. The confidence inspired by Science lies in the fact that Truth is real and error is unreal. Error is a coward before Truth. Divine Science insists that time will prove all this. Both truth and error have come nearer than ever before to the apprehension of mortals, and truth will become still clearer as error is self-estroyed.

To be expectant for the stirrings of peace to breakthrough the hypnotism of war, I found these ideas helpful:

  • Be open to possibilities for breakthrough.
  • Set your heart higher than the outcome of the war.
  • There is no terror, no darkness that cannot be removed by the light.

So long as the arguments of war rest on human power and control, resources and entitlement, war will continue. We need a radically spiritual view – something above the physical – a metaphysical perspective. We start with God, our Father-Mother God – and we understand that we are made in His image and likeness.

The way to win a war is to go to the source of all harmony and love, that is God. Lean on God, yield to God’s power, surrender to God’s will - not on a sense of personal power, either good OR evil– only the power of God, the power of good.

One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations.” It isn’t that we need others to believe in the way we believe, but that we need to understand God as infinite - -- bigger than any culture or denomination and the source of intelligent strength and care.

Only when we get a glimpse of this infinite source of tenderness and might, can we begin to sort out the issues of war.

When we pray for the end of war, we are praying to see the world as governed by God. To be able to see others as God sees them. Aligning our thought with the law of God, we take that one step that claims peace is possible, right here and right now.

Other helpful resources:

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(Photo by son, Gabe)