Budapest. Munich. Bodrum. These beautiful, historic places have become symbols of unanswered global questions about our moral obligations to mankind.
This question is just as important here in the Southwestern US, as anywhere.
Seeing reports of masses of refugees fending for themselves at Keleti railway station in Hungary, having just escaped the chaos of warfare, begs many questions and demands serious thought.
“There, but for the grace of God, go I”, could be a natural response. But what is the grace of God? To me, it’s the inspired effect on human behavior of understanding God’s universal love. Such boundless grace must hold answers for each individual, oppressed or free, in conflict or at peace, in Syria or Arizona.
We could, of course, simply view these challenges as someone else’s problem. But we have a track record of doing better than that. In the 1970’s the influx of Vietnamese families torn by conflict was met with magnanimity. Many churches opened their hearts and doors to those in need. And more than just being a morally sure-footed thing to do, it was a mutual blessing.
For instance, our family benefitted from knowing the Pham family. Their daughters proved to be terrific babysitters for our children. In turn, we found a home for our “well-seasoned” Volvo wagon that helped them move their wonderful, talented family about.
“Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals,” wrote spiritual thinker and humanitarian, Mary Baker Eddy, in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (p.13). She was referring to divine Love, God. When we express such love — for example, living the Golden Rule by doing unto others as we would have them do unto us, which is found in some form in every faith tradition — then we are living this God-given, universal love. Adaptable to any situation, love is meant to be bestowed impartially and universally and we can each pray to know how best to adapt and bestow our love for those escaping war, whether or not they actually make their way to our country.
Does doing so deplete us? No. On the contrary, there’s a wonderful statement from the Bible, “…now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality.” (II Cor. 8:14)
How can this be? It is because “our Maker” is infinite good, and as we draw on such an inexhaustible grace on behalf of others we better grasp God’s endless grace for all. We are proving something which, if universally understood, would surely help mitigate at the root the kind of thinking that causes such crises — namely, that fear and greed are misconceptions of a need to compete for resources based on a limited, material sense of their source.
Love is the generosity that comes from understanding God’s infinite, spiritual nature. As we dwell on God’s abundant, impartial grace for all, would we not find ourselves ready to give abundantly to those in need?
This Article is being published September 23, 2015 in the Arizona Silver Belt Newspaper.