A society `fitly framed together'
TODAY we know of energy shortages even while renewable sources of energy exist, and we hear of burdensome food surpluses in one area even while people go hungry in another. When elements of society seem to work at cross-purposes, we may wish we could contribute to its well-being so that needs could be more consistently met. And we can! In prayer we can begin to see through the common misconception that we are finite creatures imperfectly designing social order from the conflicting wants, needs, and habits of numerous personalities; we discover the spiritual nature of man. Christ Jesus laid the foundation for harmonious relationships when he showed that the real man, made in God's image, is spiritually endowed with everything he needs. In healing, Jesus demonstrated that health, food, and individual fulfillment are supplied, not by displaying more cleverness or assertiveness than another, but by awaking to one's native state as the child of God. The two great commandments--to love one God and to love one another1--when honored in their spiritual sense, bring to bear the power of divine law on society and thereby bless it. More than just refraining from the worship of obvious idols, loving only one God means acknowledging one divine Mind as the source of intelligence. More than just polite regard for another, loving one's neighbor means seeing another as created by the divine Love that cherishes all. We have the natural capacity to obey these commands because our true nature is the very outcome of God, of Love. God, the one Mind, could create no special interests to conflict; God, who is Love, binds the universe in harmony. When we accept this spiritual truth, realize it to be the reality of life, despite appearances to the contrary, we can find freedom from inequities and contribute to the betterment of society as a whole. The writer of Ephesians puts it this way: when our relationships are governed by God's grace, we ``are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord.'' 2 Christly qualities expressed by even one person act as the cornerstone of social structure, promoting harmony and progress Spiritward. Consider how deeply Joseph's life, in Bible times, blessed those among whom he lived.3 He arrived in Egypt before a national emergency as a minor member of society with problems of his own, having been thrown into a pit by envious brothers and sold into slavery. Then, after a promising start as overseer of the household of a prominent Egyptian, he was imprisoned on false charges. Yet, remarkably, he seemed more interested in expressing insight and love for others than in brooding over his personal misfortunes. The Bible notes that the Lord was with Joseph, and certainly he behaved as one confident that God continuously guided and cared for him. He correctly interpreted a dream of a fellow prisoner, and this led to an opportunity to interpret Pharaoh's dream of an impending famine. Because he had the wisdom to see the coming food shortage as well as conservation measures that could forestall it, Joseph was appointed to an administrative position and restored to prosperity. And the needs of Egypt, surrounding countries, and his own family were also met. Most important, Joseph's ability to discern that his life had been governed not by happenstance and clashing self-interests, but by God, led to a great blessing for his people. His demonstrated brotherly love contributed to the development of the tribes of Israel into a spiritually great nation centered on God's law. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, writes, ``When the divine precepts are understood, they unfold the foundation of fellowship, in which one mind is not at war with another, but all have one Spirit, God, one intelligent source, in accordance with the Scriptural command: `Let this Mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.' '' 4 Our individual commitment to honor one Mind and love our neighbor not only brings our own lives into balance; it contributes to the right orientation of society as a whole. Such Christliness is the cornerstone of fellowship on earth. 1 See Mark 12:29-31. 2 Ephesians 2:20, 21. 3 See Genesis, chaps. 37, 39-50. 4 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 276.