The value of change – and what never changes
A Christian Science perspective.
Last week, as world leaders finished the Group of 8 Summit in L'Aquila, Italy, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who hosted the meeting, and US President Obama floated the idea that perhaps the structure of the G-8 needed to change; that it was too small and that other countries needed to be included in order to effectively tackle the world's issues.
At present, the G-8 is made up primarily of more affluent Northern Hemisphere countries, and to expand it might allow for a more inclusive and diverse approach to world problem-solving. During the last 10 years, other countries have developed more strongly and have much to offer.
Such expansion would have to be thought through carefully, of course, but fear of change shouldn't be allowed to impede the discussion. Supportive prayer can help ensure that if there is change, it will come about in a way that will bless everyone. In any organization, as old values give place to new, the transformation can open the way for new and better ideas to develop. The core values and motive may stay the same, and from there ideas expand and can include higher goals and ideals. Even if the main goals change, this doesn't necessarily mean the result will be harmful. It might be even better than the original plan.
Two of Jesus' parables have significant relevance to this process of growth and change and provide helpful metaphors. One says: "No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and sews it on an old garment. If he does, the new cloth will tear, and the piece from the new will not match the old" (Luke 5:36, International Standard Version). The next verse says: "No one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will make the skins burst, the wine will be spilled, and the skins will be ruined."
To me, the old garment and the old bottle (wineskins) represent old ways of thinking and doing things. And the new cloth and new wine signify fresh ideas, changed consciousness, and ideals that have the potential to bless universally. Our prayers can claim that even if there are radical changes, the world and its leaders will still be under God's protection.
The Bible says that it's God who makes "all things new" (Rev. 21:5). The message of Christ, which we can think of as the evidence of God's presence with us, is totally radical and has transforming power. But it is never destructive of the good that already has been perceived. Rather, it enables thought to evolve and transform, as humanity's goals become more spiritual and come into closer harmony with God, who is the divine Mind. Christ raises consciousness to new views of God's goodness for all people, not just a select few. New ways of working together emerge, old enmities lessen or even disappear.
In times of rapid change, it's helpful to remember that one thing that's changeless is God's love for all His creation – meaning every one of us, whether we are part of the G-8 or not. I find encouragement in this verse from the Bible: "The Lord God omnipotent reigneth" (Rev. 19:6). To me it means that we are not held back or constrained by change.
In our daily lives we may face issues and circumstances that make us rethink decisions. When such changes in thinking are inspired by Christ, we gain higher viewpoints through enlightened consciousness. The more we trust and lean on divine Mind's guidance, the more we will experience this spiritual newness. And the more opportunities we will have to bless the world.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, described man, meaning God's sons and daughters, as "the compound idea of God, including all right ideas" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 475). Divine Principle always operates through its harmonious law in human consciousness, which becomes enlightened under its influence.
In infinite divine Mind, where we all live and move and have our being, no spiritual idea can ever be separated from its source. So we are always with God, in that right consciousness, even if our circumstances change. Every aspect of our lives is forever unfolding and is expressed in this infinity, which is completely good.
Since all good ideas have their source in divine Mind, no good action or idea can be lost or missed, but continues to bless humanity and prosper it in new and infinite ways.