From pictures of cows grazing amidst smouldering forests in the Amazon, to surfers cresting a wave of garbage off the shore of Indonesia, the environmental degradation and impurities evidenced on the earth are compounding. A recent World Health Organization news release says that dramatic changes are needed to protect the health and longevity of mankind. As the inhabitants of this globe, we are all being called to action, and a pure environment must be our priority.
At odds with purifying the environment, though, are a variety of cultural, individual and political attitudes regarding the planet, the vast scale of the contamination, and the pervasive feeling that there aren’t enough resources to deal with the problem. Such reports keep environmental cleanup efforts hemmed in. This is where the power found in the infinitude of God can help.
The biblical prophet, Elisha, provides a good example of Spirit’s innate ability to heal the environment. In II Kings, we learn that the city he was in was “pleasant,” but the water [was] nought, and the ground barren.” The Pulpit Commentary notes that Jericho’s brackish springs literally caused miscarriage among animals and humans. When called on, Elisha prayed and sprinkled the water with salt, which was used in purifying offerings. Practically, this would have been futile, but spiritually it demonstrated the power of purity, symbolized by salt, to meet the needs of the community. The waters were healed, and the people enjoyed a healthier life.
Is it practical to expect the same power of pure Spirit to correct the pollutants of the 21st century?
In January, 1993, when an oil tanker ran aground off the Shetland Islands, it brought dire reports for the affected wildlife. British author Dawn Lambert was led to turn off the television and seek a deep understanding of God’s loving righteousness and protection of His entire creation. Over the course of several days she rejected the temptation to blame other humans or give in to gloom. Instead, she realized her ability to witness spiritual reality or infinite goodness. When she finally turned the TV back on, the television crew panned the ocean, showing nothing but clear blue waters. The commentator reported, “…the oil has virtually disappeared.” (see: Environmental Tragedy is not Inevitable)
Infinity by nature is 100% pure. One who dearly cherished her environment and demonstrated profound understanding of Spirit as God, Mary Baker Eddy, explains, “Spirit, God, is infinite, all. Spirit can have no opposite.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 278).
Without an opposite, Spirit is everything, meaning our environment must be spiritual and consequently, pure. How do we realize this though? A good friend puts it this way, “When you get down to the way God sees it, that’s the spiritual truth. When you allow nothing but Truth into your thoughts, the problems just melt away.” She is not oversimplifying the magnitude and complexity of human factors that affect the environment, or implying that we ignore the problem, but that we actively monitor our own consciousness for ungodlike — polluting — thoughts. In this way, we can each clear our own mental atmospheres of impurities and ensure that our physical environment follows suit.
“Spirituality lays open siege to materialism,” writes Eddy (ibid, p. 216). Spirituality allows us to realize divine Love’s infinitude and view creation as God sees it — crystal clear, harmonious and abundantly healthy, reflecting the nature of God and His righteousness.
What a terrific promise we have in God’s love for His creation! Infinite Spirit can wipe out the fear, bring our attitudes into harmony with the Divine, and help us glimpse right now, our existence in the already-harmonious, safe environment of Spirit. This kind of prayer is practical. It offers an effective means to bring healing to our planet, in ways that political and physical initiatives, though needed, may fall short.