Recently, the Chinese government has issued several statements expressing frustration with, among other things, U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and President Obama’s planned meeting with the long-exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama. Of course the U.S. State Department is responding with diplomatic measures, but whenever tension increases somewhere in the world, it’s worth remembering that it’s not just up to diplomats to smooth things out. We can all contribute PRAYERFULLY to harmonious international relations!
A hundred years ago the founder of this magazine, Mary Baker Eddy, actively supported and nurtured peace around the world. In 1905 she even requested “that every member of The Mother Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, pray each day for the amicable settlement of the war between Russia and Japan; and pray that God bless that great nation and those islands of the sea with peace and prosperity” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 279). She knew that focused thought and prayer could be of immediate value internationally.
Twenty years ago the term “multi-track diplomacy” was coined in recognition of the fact that simultaneous efforts on multiple fronts can be beneficial in achieving peace or resolving conflict. In support of official action taken by professional diplomats, a variety of other “tracks” working together can help normalize situations by maintaining an attitude of cooperation, reason and reconciliation. Some of these include business, private citizens, the media, religion, and philanthropy, to name just a few.
For instance, for several years internet giant Google has been attempting to reconcile its own company values of freedom of speech and user anonymity with the Chinese government’s policy of online user monitoring. Google’s efforts at working through some of these fundamental issues provide one helpful diplomatic “track.” Educational programs are another. I have many friends who study Chinese (one of the world’s most widely-spoken languages) and who travel to China; and others who live and work there now; and still others who spend their careers helping Chinese citizens acclimate to Western culture.
Prayer itself is an effective form of diplomacy, a purely spiritual track. I can correctly identify the Chinese population spiritually, even though I’ve never traveled to China and don’t speak a word of Chinese. I can acknowledge that each of us is a loved member of the family of man and that there’s just one God – one Father-Mother, and one brotherhood of man that includes us all. Throughout the Bible, we find ideas like this one from Galatians 3:28: “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.”
Whenever we read news of international disunity, we can remember that disunity is usually based in fear – fear of the unknown, fear that somehow God isn’t in control. But Love is the antidote for fear — in fact, “Perfect love casteth out fear” (I John 4:18). And since God, Love, fills all space, there’s no room for fear at all. In the light of Love, we can enjoy and appreciate our relationships with our brothers and sisters.
Spanning 5,000 years, China’s culture is one of the oldest and richest on earth. A wealth of tradition and practical wisdom has been recorded during those years. It’s encouraging to remember that real wisdom is powerful and timeless, and will always promote current progress. Progress is an irresistible law of God, and the wisdom of the one Mind is always speaking to human consciousness everywhere in the world!
Adding our spiritual focus to the efforts of thinkers everywhere can be immeasurably helpful in supporting the efforts of government, business, and media to understand and eliminate conflicts with China—and between all countries—and to unify the family of man. Our intelligent prayer, our acknowledgment of one infinite Father-Mother, is diplomacy, and it brings us nearer in thought to our family members throughout the world.
As Mrs. Eddy wrote in Science and Health: “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” (p. 340).
Article originally appeared in the Christian Science Sentinel, March 29, 2010.
Republished with permission of The Christian Science Publishing Society.