Prayers for Flint
A Christian Science perspective: How can we pray about resolving injustice in cities, including Flint, Mich.?
My early days were spent in Flint, Mich. The city has always held a special place in my heart despite its many challenges, the most recent being the water crisis that has become impossible to ignore. I yearn to see justice prevail in my old hometown, as in many other neighborhoods that often appear to be neglected in the United States as well as in other nations.
Sometimes human efforts to bring about justice fall short or feel inadequate. The effort to find satisfactory solutions in these situations can seem overwhelming, but my experience has shown me that prayer that appeals to a higher law can open thought in a way that leads to the needed changes.
I’ve come to see that this higher law is the law of God, whom the Bible describes as “perfect” and “just.” Referring to God as “the Rock,” the book of Deuteronomy says: “The Rock, his work is perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God, without deceit, just and upright is he;” (32:4, New Revised Standard Version).
At one point, I had an occasion to learn to trust God’s law of justice when I was trying to sell my property to avoid a potential foreclosure. I had been proactive about what needed to be done, but the real estate agents and bankers I worked with seemed unmotivated, unkind, and underhanded. I had acted according to my best understanding through the entire process and felt I was suffering unjustly.
It was holding to the concept in the following passage by Christian Science Discoverer Mary Baker Eddy that brought about a resolution: “Let Truth uncover and destroy error in God’s own way, and let human justice pattern the divine” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 542). "Truth" here is used as a synonym for God.
My study of Christian Science has shown me that because everyone is made in God’s image, our true nature is inherently honest and caring. This meant that I could pray to better understand God and our relation to Him, and that this understanding could embrace those in the housing and financial industries, knowing that they have the inherent integrity to take actions for the good of everyone. As it turned out, praying in this way yielded an unexpected solution that ended up being fair and much more equitable than I could have imagined and that had been predicted.
The Bible includes so many examples of individuals who trusted in God’s government and found release from the most desperate situations. Moses listened for God’s direction to free the children of Israel, and Daniel was protected in the lions’ den (see Exodus and Daniel 6, respectively). They both proved that God held absolute authority and, in Daniel’s case, even over the king who had been persuaded to establish a malicious law that would punish people for worshiping God.
As my own experience showed, in a small but important way, the same laws that governed those in the Bible are still at work today, showing that a clear recognition of God’s sovereignty brings God’s just law to light. These instances give me hope for those in Flint and all cities that may be suffering unjustly.
The error that led to the contaminated water supply in Flint has already been uncovered, and we can be grateful for that step of progress. In our prayers for the city, we can support that progress further by knowing and affirming God’s supreme control and by understanding that God reveals solutions in practical ways to those who listen and trust in the higher laws of God. Trusting in God’s unfailing law of justice gives us hope, enabling us to witness a right resolution through divine inspiration and guidance.