"Heal the world
make it a better place
for you, and for me
and the entire human race..."
Reports of the devastating effects of a widespread drought in East Africa and an unfathomable hunger crisis that has left millions facing starvation, knocks at the door of my heart hourly...and I am answering.
But there was a time when if I heard that knock, all I felt was helpless. Oh yes, I prayed for the world, but it was more a prayer of petition, than the exercise of divine law. Opening the door to suffering humanity was terrifying. I wasn't sure I would be able to respond...in any way but breaking down in tears...once I swung it wide and welcomed the world in. In fact, I remember watching this video of Michael Jackson's "Heal the World," and just sighing. It was 1991, our daughter was not yet two, and the images of children living in poverty, civil urest, and homelessness contrasted so strikingly with our modest, but safe, warm, and peaceful life in a small university town in Colorado, that I couldn't wrap my arms around it.
It had been two years since our return from South Africa, and yet I was still haunted by what I'd seen of the living conditions in Soweto, the Apartheid-era imposed racially segregated township housing over one million impovereished black Africans. Raw sewarage, corrugated tin shacks, hungry children, and the angry faces of the oppressed were seared into my memory. Seeing the images in the video only brought those earlier feelings of helplessness in the face of insurmountable social injustice and human indignity to the surface again. And as Nelson Mandela learned during his tenure in prison:
"Freedom is indivisible;
the chains on any one of my people
were the chains on all of them,
the chains on all of my people
were the chains on me."
So, I reasoned, the suffering of any one person, was my suffering. And I was feeling it.
But, I also knew that I didn't have to stay there. If I wanted to witness healing and freedom in my own life...mind, body, spirit, my family, my community...I had to be willing to advocate for the impersonal, impartial, and universal well-being of everyone, everywhere. And as a spiritual thinker, I knew had an option other than despair and frustration...one that didn't compromise my heart's desire to see the end of oppression, or abdicate my sense of social responsibility...but one, in fact, that gave me practical ways to make a difference. I could take my human rights case to the Supreme Court...of Spirit.
Just as a civil liberties attorney would hunker down with the Constitution to ground himself in the establishments of his clients rights, I knew that I had to ground my case in all that constituted the rights of man, based on divine law.
As I began my research for the case of "global social injustice vs. God," it became instantly clear to me that throughout human history, as recorded in the Bible, our spiritual patriarchs had been faced with countless opportunities to litigate against oppression in the court of Spirit. And time, and again, they had prevailed. Moses, Ruth, Solomon, Jesus...especially Jesus...grounded themselves in the law of Love, and triumphed.
As I poured over their case histories, two sentences..one from the gospel of Matthew, and one from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, became the cornerstone of my case.
"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself..."
"Love is impartial and universal
in its adaptation and bestowals."
- Mary Baker Eddy
On the constitutional foundation of these two statements I built my case. There were so many inontrovertible accounts of "human justice patterning the divine" in the Bible -- to draw on for citing precendence -- that it made preparing for an "argument" unneccessary. Any justification for treating an "other" as less deserving of good, would be inadmissable in the court of Spirit. I knew that I had an absolutely airtight defense of humanity's right to peace, security, justice, dignity, health, and compassion. I was ready.
It had become crystal clear to me that Jesus' statement. "thou shalt love thy neighbors as thyself," was not a suggestion, but a spiritual imperative...a promise. And that Eddy's declaration...her proclamation that Love's adaptiations and bestowals are impartial and universal ...without condition, leaving no one out, under any circumstance...were all I needed to rest my case.
Over, and over, and over again, as one distortion of justice after another suggests itself for consideration and blind acceptance, I can, without finger pointing or judgment, take a stand for the power of Love to enforce its own Law of divine providence. And through His Word, reverberating in each human heart, to:
"...enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them"*
I've loved watching as God's Word, advocating in defense of humanity's impartial and universal right to experience good, operates unspent and without hesitation in every corner of the universe...especially in my own heart. I know the law of Love. I am steeped in Scriptural precedence. Love always triumphs. I trust it...unconditionally, unreservedly...with all my being.
*From "The Daily Prayer," which can be found in the Section on "Discipline," of The Manual of The Mother Church, by Mary Baker Eddy. It reads in its entirety:
"Thy kingdom come,
let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love
be sestablished in me,
and rule out of me all sin.
And may Thy Word,
enrich the affections of all mankind,
and govern them."