Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A Reason for Hope in the Middle East ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A Reason for Hope in the Middle East ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Article excerpt

Something has shifted. The public conversation - whether among friends or on national networks - seemed only recently filled with animated discussions about the latest developments in the Middle East and which course should be pursued. But that public debate has devolved from initial conviction of a solution, to frustration in finding a workable one, to despair in ever finding one.

A gnawing sense of hopelessness is creeping into the national and international psyche as well-intentioned plans go awry - politically, militarily, economically, diplomatically. People achingly wonder whether there will ever be an end to violence in the Middle East. Is it something we can even hope for?

Hopelessness is an emotional free fall without a net, taking one to the bottom of the well of fear, resignation, and, most dangerous of all, despair. This type of reaction would have us want to run as far away as possible from the problem.

Yet the world cannot watch this nexus of geopolitical and religious importance gradually implode.

The New Testament's parable of the good Samaritan holds up a higher standard. It demands that we not cross over to the other side of the road, but that we take steps to help our neighbor. When the Middle East is the neighbor, we naturally ask, How can I as one individual help?

Jesus' parable of compassion points to answers beyond the diplomatic or political, to a spiritual basis for both conviction and action. It is the solid ground the writer of Hebrews points to when recalling the extraordinary faith of Abraham - that religious giant for Jews, Christians, and Muslims: "He looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Heb. 11:10).

Global "good Samaritans" can examine their mental foundation and be sure their prayers are resting solidly on the spiritual intelligence from divine Mind, God, rather than on the ever- changing evidence of the physical senses.

Mary Baker Eddy described the difference in these two standpoints in this revealing statement from "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures": "The effect of this Science is to stir the human mind to a change of base, on which it may yield to the harmony of the divine Mind" (page 162). …

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