'... no more strangers and foreigners'

Anyone who has traveled outside his own country knows the challenge of feeling at home amid unfamiliar smells, sights, and sounds. Until I traveled, I didn't realize how much I relied on familiarity with my surroundings to make me feel at ease.

One thought that helped me was that no place is foreign to God. People joke and say ''God is an Englishman'' or ''Switzerland is God's country.'' Of course, God is not closer to one nation than to another. God is infinite Spirit, as the Bible teaches. He fills all space and is always present. Spirit's realm is not material, it's spiritual; and that's true too for man, God's image and likeness.

In truth, we can't ever be separated by mountain ranges, rivers, or national boundaries from infinite, ever-present Spirit. However abstract the thought may seem, our true dwelling place is in God's presence, because where God is, His reflection must be too. Knowing this, we won't feel that we can be thrust into a place where God's love and care are absent. The Psalmist sang, ''If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.'' n1

n1 Psalms 139:9, 10

I once lived in a foreign country that was very different from my homeland. The people there asked me whether we had a moon where I came from and if the country had sheep. After a few days I felt very far from home and unhappy.

I began to feel at home when I realized that God's power and love didn't stop at the borders of my native land. Divine Love, God, is impartial good, and we are all His children. Our individuality is actually spiritual, the expression of God; it's not a combination of flesh and personality.

Christ Jesus didn't restrict his contact to people of one particular nationality. He healed a Roman centurion's servant, taught a parable in which the exemplary character was a Samaritan. Jesus embodied the Christ, the spiritual idea of man's sonship with God. His understanding of his true nature enabled him to see the spiritual selfhood of each individual he met.

My judgments of the people I met were at first limited by the physical characteristics I noticed. It takes spiritual sense, a capacity we all have as the offspring of divine Spirit, to recognize spiritual qualities such as intelligence, vitality, and love, which identify us as the family of God's children. When I looked for Godlike qualities (of which I found many) being expressed by the people of this country, the differences that separated us became merely interesting cultural characteristics; I was so sure that what unites us is our shared sonship with God. As the Apostle Paul wrote, ''Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.'' n2

n2 Ephesians 2:19.

God-derived qualities are not really foreign to anyone. The cherishing of family is the same Godlike quality whether it takes place in a Navajo hogan or a houseboat. The intelligence shown in the manufacture of useful goods and tools is just as vital and valid whether we're in Nairobi or Santiago.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ''God is universal; confined to no spot, defined by no dogma, appropriated by no sect. Not more to one than to all, is God demonstrable as divine Life, Truth, and Love; and His people are they that reflect Him - that reflect Love.'' n3 Recognizing the spiritual qualities that are native to man does more than just make us feel at home wherever we travel. When we look for these qualities, we'll see something of the true brotherhood of man.

n3 Miscellaneous Writings, p. 150.

DAILY BIBLE VERSE In him we live, and move, and have our being. Acts 17:28

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