This house of God is open for you; the Lord has been waiting to see you come home.
A place to leave behind the past, to have the
fullness of the present,
and to look forward to the bright future.
“Competition in commerce, deceit in councils, dishonor in nations, dishonesty in trusts, all begin with 'Who shall be greatest?’” Thus wrote a commentator over one hundred year ago. Today's world scene seems to reaffirm the truth of these words.
Fear in Pakistan that the United States' involvement is part of a larger takeover in the region, rampant dishonesty in the Iranian elections, and a tug of war between the various perspectives on the economy are a few examples of issues where the struggle to provide the best solution has deep personal and social implications.
Each of these situations reveals a state of fear and unrest that needs to be countered at the deepest level. In the United States at present, many have doubts about the wisdom of continuing with the Afghan war; others fear that to wind down the war would make the country vulnerable to renewed terrorism. Such fears can tempt people to mislead others or to mistakenly interpret conditions so their idea will prevail. It would keep the discussion of these issues within a material realm where limited thought and even honest misinterpretation can distort outcomes.
A spiritual solution to such conditions is to recognize that reliance on human intelligence for substantive solutions is not where answers actually lie. God, the one Mind, is able to guide humanity through these dangers and to open up passages to peace that may have been overlooked. Listening to Mind, and hearing it clearly, isn't always easy if one's thought is being pulled this way and that by opposing views or personal opinions.
To pray for the world sometimes requires simple child-likeness. You may recall that when Jesus was asked by his disciples to measure greatness, he didn't place top value on people skills, education, contacts, or even years of experience. Rather, he called a child to him and said, "Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 18:1–3). To be childlike is to be hopeful, loving, persistent, intelligent, honest, and obedient. This is the path Christ Jesus walked. It was anything but an easy road but to enter the kingdom of true greatness is to obediently follow Jesus’ example.
Christ's path is forever separate from the road to worldly power and glory. Yet Jesus' willingness to walk that road made Him the “Savior of the World”. His fame comes not from personal glory but from His recognition that, "I can of mine own self do nothing" (John 5:30). He literally changed the world through his undeviating reliance on His Father’s will and guidance.
By choosing this same path, each individual can help the world dig itself out of its disasters and to find answers to personal, social and economic dangers. On this path, one learns that there is only one Greatest, namely God – the one Mind, which protects and saves, and offers security that drives out fear. Then, there isn't a need to destroy one's foes through ruthless competition, or to practice deceit, dishonor, or dishonesty. Rather, there is a natural outlet for excellence, brotherhood and sisterhood, love, joy, honesty, honor, and goodness.
On this path each individual sees his or her own greatness in relation to its source in the Divine Good. It becomes possible to echo Jesus' words, "I can of mine own self do nothing," and to realize that they represent an increase, not a decrease, in authority and joy. It is to be secure in the knowledge that good can never be lost because its source is in the all-encompassing power and presence of the Truth and Love, which is God.
This promise is for each individual, anywhere in the world, but it's also a gift each one can give to the world. In specific prayer that recognizes the genuine nature of man as the offspring of the Almighty, one can claim peace and freedom from fear and offer those gifts to the world. Past hurts can be forgiven, and angers be forgotten when prayer requires that the one Infinite Intelligence, rather than human egos, be seen in control.
Such prayer will redeem individual lives, political systems, financial institutions, and all who have been led into believing that mere human efforts can be reliable bridges to success. In this way, each of us contributes not only to our individual happiness, but to the progress of all people, everywhere.
In His Light,
Bishop Raymond Contois