This week’s Christian Science Bible Lesson is called “Doctrine of Atonement”. It has wonderful ideas about our oneness with God, good, and our unity with all of God’s ideas, man. I found myself praying today for a sense of unity and peace between all religions, that we may work together realizing the same hopes and desires and seeing them fulfilled.
I had the privilege of working with an organization called Interfaith Youth Core founded in Chicago by Eboo Patel, an Indian Muslim. He has a very inspiring and spiritually activating book called Acts of Faith. There are wonderful ideas in it about the need to work together, to break down the barriers of ignorance and fear, and to get to know and support one another. What he has found in his work with youth in interfaith groups is that each one’s faith is strengthened, not lost, through getting to know others in conversation and service. Those who aren’t of a particular faith have also joined because they have perceived the need for religions not to be divided against each other.
The Christian Science Organization (CSO) at Northwestern University has sponsored an interfaith panel the last 2 years. It has been very successful and well attended. They had a sponsor from Christian Science and from these different faiths: Baha’i, Catholic, Hare Krishna, Buddhist, Islam and Evangelical Christian. It was a joy to sit together and hear about everyone’s beliefs and faith, and realize we are more similar than we may think – all wanting universal harmony, health, balance and order.
The Bible says, “Christ is our peace. He made both Jews and Gentiles into one group. With his body, he broke down the barrier of hatred that divided us. He canceled the detailed rules of the Law so that he could create one new person out of the two groups, making peace” (Contemporary English Bible, Eph 2:14, 15).
Isn’t that beautiful! The Christ gives us the true sense of God, of who and what God is and of God’s will – health, happiness, peace, and abundance for all creation as well as unity and brotherhood – and the true sense of who we are, God’s eternal image and likeness. Spirit, God, made us in His/Her/It’s own image, therefore we are made in the image of Spirit, the image of Divinity. The diversity of Spirit’s creation can be perceived through culture, race, and religion but these aren’t dividing lines or boundaries. Each one of us is a whole and complete spiritual creation including masculine and feminine qualities and we reflect all of the infinitude of God.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (KJV, Gal 3:28).
Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, defines the Christ as universal, “the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness. The Christ is incorporeal, spiritual, — yea, the divine image and likeness, dispelling the illusions of the senses; the Way, the Truth, and the Life, healing the sick and casting out evils, destroying sin, disease, and death” (Science and Health, p. 332).
Yes, we have to come out from any materiality (or sin) and this is what enables us to live spiritually and gives us all of God, Infinite Spirit’s radiant blessings. The Bible Lesson points out that we can’t go it alone. We have to walk with God to be successful. And walking with God enables us to more lovingly support each other in true brotherhood.
Mrs. Eddy also writes, prophetically:
“One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself;’ annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry, — whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed.” (Science and Health, p. 340)
Wow! That one infinite God, good, does a lot, clearing up all of our problems as a human race.
Malachi says, “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother…” (KJV, Mal 2:10)
We can go forward with the spirit of love, patience, meekness, and humility in learning about one another – appreciating, respecting and being considerate. We don’t need to be ignorant or fearful of each other, but can go live in love, peace, and faith in and an understanding of God, good.