Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas Message this year on reconciliation set the tone for what could be a world changing, yet individual, action that brings not only peace but also better health to everyone.
Her Majesty’s message opened with a touching image of a man and woman embracing. Sculpted and cast by the renowned English sculptor Josefina de Vasconcellos, it shows that moment of reconnection for which everyone yearns.
But what does reconciliation mean? And, what does it look like in our world today?
In her speech, Queen Elizabeth shared her view:
“For me the life of Jesus Christ … is an inspiration and an anchor in my life. Jesus is a role model of reconciliation and forgiveness. He stretched out his hands in love, acceptance and healing. Christ’s example has taught me to seek, respect and value all people of whatever faith, or none.”
Her perspective set me thinking – what was it that Jesus saw that called forth such love and acceptance, and healed people so completely? It couldn’t have been the image of man as diseased or sinful, though he never shied away from those problems. It must be that he saw through them to God’s creation – the spiritual ideal that is within each of us.
Artists like de Vasconcellos are continually reconciling the image they see with what they create. Like them, we also have models that we look at when we think of ourselves. And, we can ask, does this model reconcile with the model I wish to be? The answer is often in the negative.
Reconciliation, as Jesus demonstrated it, gives us an example of how to change the variable human model we entertain, to a more reliable, spiritual and truthful one. It brings a divine image into consciousness, with a view of life that is in accord - or agreement – with how we want to live our lives.
My own spiritual reconciliation occurred as a young woman. Hurt and confused by a sad family history, I felt separated from God. But the steadfast love of a family friend helped me change how I viewed God and myself. Additionally, he introduced me to the writings of Mary Baker Eddy
Eddy’s life and writings were inspired by Christ Jesus, and pointed out new ways to see beyond a haunting history to my ever-present, inseparable divine connection. She wrote:
“Jesus aided in reconciling man to God by giving man a truer sense of Love,
the divine Principle of Jesus' teachings, and this truer sense of Love redeems man from the law of matter, sin, and death by the law of Spirit, — the law of divine Love.”
Reconciliation, I realized, begins with God. I began to cultivate a new model, starting with qualities I knew were divine, such as love, intelligence, stability, goodness and beauty. Accepting this model for both myself, and my family, resulted in healing for us all.
This spiritual reconnection can, as the Queen noted in her message, heal and unify our communities also.
Her speech is especially pertinent to Canadians this year, as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission winds up its difficult but necessary work, through which, First Nations people have been able to finally share their stories of the horrors of the Residential School system.
We each have an opportunity to put aside education and preconceived beliefs about ourselves and our neighbours, to see our true nature, and to experience the divine Love that binds us all to God and, thus, to each other.
Taking this action would usher in a new era – individually and collectively. This is the healing power of reconciliation.
Anna Bowness-Park is a Christian Science practitioner, who writes frequently on the relationship between consciousness and health, and how prayer can play a role. You can follow her blog at anna-bownesspark.ca
You can read other articles from our interfaith blog, Spiritually Speaking HERE
This article was also published in the print edition of the Times Colonist on Saturday, January 10 2015