On November 25, 2013, our Activities and Volunteer Coordinator, Tracy Colerider-Krugh, introduced the idea of a “Practice Club” at Broadview for our guests to pray specifically for the world, our local communities & the facility. The group meets in our Practice Room, usually every other Tuesday after lunch, and often reads an article from The Christian Science Monitor. Afterwards, they give the situation a Christian Science treatment. We keep a notebook of the notes in the Practice Room (should you ever want to stop by and peruse!).
During last month’s Practice Meeting, we read an article from The Christian Science Monitor titled, “A Determination to Improve” by columnist John Yemma along with excerpts from the cover story “How one man is creating a ‘positive gang’ for latino youth” by Patricia Leigh Brown.
The articles reported on a mentoring program called the Young Men’s Initiative in rural California created by Eddie Valero. All the students in the Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified School District in California are considered socially and economically disadvantaged; boys without father figures at home and mothers who work long hours in the fields have turned to gang activity to fill the void. The Young Men’s Initiative, Yemma explained: “gives young Latino males an alternative to violence and futility…Gangs offer protection, camaraderie, and power…The success of the Young Men’s Initiative can’t be measured by a mass movement away from gangs. Gangs still entice young men and endanger public safety. That probably won’t change anytime soon. What is changing, because of the day-by-day work of Eddie Valero and others like him, is one life at a time.”
We were impressed by the article about Eddie Valero’s work but wanted to pray about the suggestion that gangs will continue to entice young men. A participant immediately quoted the Bible’s promise found in Isaiah 60:18: Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.
We also affirmed that these children are not fatherless – they are God’s children, loved and known by Him. Divine Mind is awakening them to who they are as God’s children. Attraction to gangs or pleasure from violent activity will naturally fall away, as Mary Baker Eddy makes clear: “Reform comes by understanding that there is no abiding pleasure in evil, and also by gaining an affection for good according to Science, which reveals the immortal fact that neither pleasure nor pain, appetite nor passion, can exist in or of matter, while divine Mind can and does destroy the false beliefs of pleasure, pain, or fear and all the sinful appetites of the human mind” (Science & Health 327:1-7).
Hymn 157 (from the Christian Science Hymnal) supported our prayers for the larger sense of family needed for these boys and peace for their communities:
Jesus’ prayer for all his brethren:
Father, that they may be one,
Echoes down through all the ages,
Nor prayed he for these alone
But for all, that through all time God’s will be done.
One the Mind and Life of all things,
For we live in God alone;
One the Love whose ever-presence
Blesses all and injures none.
Safe within this Love we find all being one.
Day by day the understanding
Of our oneness shall increase,
Till among all men and nations
Warfare shall forever cease,
So God’s children all shall dwell in joy and peace.
We also prayed with and cherished the ideas from Hymn 236 (from the Christian Science Hymnal):
O peace of the world, O hope in each breast,
O Bethlehem star that ages have blest,
A day of fresh promise breaks over the land,
Gaunt warfare is doomed, and God’s kingdom at hand!
From cannon and sword shape tillers of soil,
No more let dire hate man’s spirit despoil,
Let Truth be proclaimed, let God’s love be retold,
That men of good will may their brethren uphold.
As stars in their courses never contend,
As blossoms their hues in harmony blend,
As bird voices mingle in joyful refrain,
So God’s loving children in concord remain.
Our God is one Mind, the Mind we adore;
Ineffable joy His love doth outpour;
Let nations be one in a union of love,
God’s bountiful peace, all earth’s treasures above.
This closed our session, and we felt much clearer on the place of every young man in God’s kingdom as well as divine Love’s natural power to unify, uplift, and heal.