Last Saturday, Nov. 15, the leaders of 20 nations (the G-20) gathered for the Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy (see "G-20 leaders agree to next economic steps," Monitor, Nov. 17). Keeping their aims modest, they said they wanted to "review progress being made to address the current financial crisis ... and agree on a common set of principles for reform of the regulatory and institutional regimes for the world's financial sectors." It was the first of several meetings.
Such efforts can be a huge help in heading off disaster, but they also arouse fears about loss of national control of one's financial system, and feelings of mistrust toward nations that are or could become adversaries. The list of participants included, among others, the European Union, the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Indonesia, Australia, Brazil, India, China, South Africa, and Turkey. The very diversity of the group suggests the complexity of finding common ground.
Those on the sidelines – whether their nation is involved or not – also have a role to play. It's to understand that different as we are – racially, culturally, politically – we all are the children of one God. This prayer unites us in the care of a loving Father-Mother, the divine Mind who is able to guide us and our leaders into intelligent decisions. The prophet Malachi noted God's parenthood: "Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?" But then he went on, "Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?" (2:10).
The simple answer to Malachi's question is that fear often motivates people to do things that are counterproductive and that they sometimes later regret. And right now, there is plenty of fear to go around.
But this is one of the things that makes this meeting so special: Despite the fear, these nations are willing at least to talk with one another, to try to develop the trust that will help them get beyond the rivalry that the prophet was talking about. To some extent, this is enlightened self-interest. But our prayers can lift it higher.
In a poem titled "Love," Mary Baker Eddy wrote:
That Love is actually another word for God, one that the Bible also uses. To give our hope – and the hope of the nations – to divine Love is to choose the path most likely to unite us and lead to the best solutions for all.
In our prayers we can recognize that Love harms no one. Its purpose is to bless its creation, including all people and nations. In the realm of Love, we all have a common heritage and a common ruler, namely, our loving Parent. In Love's presence, neither ignorance nor fear can darken our thoughts or those of the leaders as the efforts to find common ground continue.
Because Love loves each one specifically, there's no need for grandstanding or rivalry in order to be specially noticed. As all leaders, citizens, and nations are united in the care of the one Mind or divine intelligence, this unity of purpose will reveal ways to work together that won't endanger national sovereignty or add complexity to systems that already have many facets. It's even possible that the simplicity of divine Truth will reveal easier ways to do business with one another.
Will this kind of unity happen all at once? Probably not. But as Mrs. Eddy, who founded an international church organization as well as this newspaper, wrote, "Step by step will those who trust Him find that 'God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble' " ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 444). The 20 nations have gathered to take those first steps, and our affirmation of God's presence with them continuously will help give them all access to the divine wisdom that is indeed "a very present help in trouble."