NOT long ago I visited a charitable organization in our large city where I saw a remarkable commitment to mankind at work--despite miserable surroundings. As I hesitated in the entryway, a young man darted in the door and gave me a radiant smile as he leaped up the stairway. Clearly, he was glad to be there. When the director of the organization came out, I took his hand and said: ``I'm deeply grateful for all you're doing here." He replied quietly: ``We're all called." Here was a modern Samaritan who sp ends hours each day making available this refuge for the homeless and needy.
On my way home, I pondered his words: ``We're all called." And his example was a clear reminder for me of God's Christ operating to heal right where poverty seemed overwhelming. The depressing picture of lack I'd at first accepted gave way to a truer, spiritual sense of God's divine presence, individually expressed by this man actively relieving disaster just as the Samaritan did in the parable.
What is it that impels people to walk away from material comforts--to leave all to follow God's call to comfort humanity? Surely, the motivation to respond to such a call must stem from deep devotion to God as the Father of all His children, coupled with the yearning to express God's love where it's most needed.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, heard God's call and committed her life and talents to reviving the spiritual standpoint of existence that Christ Jesus lived and taught when he said, ``God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." Because God is Spirit, He is everywhere. And in order to express God, we must conform our thoughts and acts to His goodness and allness.
Being obedient to God, good, requires us to be alert to reject the mortal beliefs of poverty, despair, lawlessness, disability, or lack of any kind. God, divine Mind, never created such conditions. They are counterfeits of true, right ideas of God and His spiritual creation, which includes man, His beloved idea and perfect likeness. God's idea, man, is spiritual and complete. As we come to understand this more fully, we see that we can never be without a place in which to express our God-given talents.
Mrs. Eddy helps us see how to conform our thought to God, Spirit, divine Love. She points out in Miscellaneous Writings: ``Holding the right idea of man in my mind, I can improve my own, and other people's individuality, health, and morals; whereas, the opposite image of man, a sinner, kept constantly in mind, can no more improve health or morals, than holding in thought the form of a boa-constrictor can aid an artist in painting a landscape." And in the next paragraph she adds: ``Man is seen only in the
true likeness of his Maker." Understanding this spiritual truth of man in God's likeness enables us to bless both ourselves and others. Instead of accepting that some people have to struggle in desolate circumstances, we can consciously realize man's spiritual completeness as the child of God. We each can resolve to spiritualize our thoughts about social conditions that are blighting cities and people's lives. And even one individual taking this radical step can make a tremendous difference!
When an idea has the prayerful support of spiritual conviction, God strengthens us to answer His call in ways that suit the individual situation. Even a glimpse of the grand truth of man's spiritual coexistence with God equips us to hear the call to respond in prayer or action or both--to human needs.
Whether we do this liberating by praying at the kitchen counter, while driving to work or walking the dog, or by participating in religious and civic affairs, we can hear and respond to the call.