Saving the Earth

Bringing a spiritual perspective to world events and daily life.

MY computer has a game in which particular ecological problems are posed-lack of water, for example. The point of the game is to make changes in an imaginary town and its landscape, so that the needs of the community will be served.

As we observe Earth Day 1996 today, wouldn't it be great if the solutions to the world's ecological problems were as simple as those given by a game? Yet more and more we seem to be presented with conditions that require impossible, either/or solutions. That is, either we will have spotted owls and other precious wildlife or we will have jobs; either we will have marine recreation or we will have manatees. The argument is that the world is limited and that one good thing necessarily threatens another. Often it's this stark: if we want jobs, we need to sacrifice wildlife-or vice versa.

But there is a very different solution I know of, based on a different view of life. It is what Christ Jesus taught two thousand years ago. And it is still practical. Jesus' life on earth showed how each of us has the ability to know God's love and to feel it. It isn't something that we need to struggle to obtain. As he told his followers at one point, "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32). Understanding the reality of this kingdom presents opportunities to redeem our planet from its environmental woes.

Here was a man who could do things that have been described as miracles. This was because Jesus' consciousness of God as his Parent was so complete. In his teachings to his followers, Jesus made clear that each of them could expect God to meet all their needs. The key to finding this divine help, he implied, was in making God central to their lives. God's kingdom, as explained in the Bible, is spiritual and is actually within us. It is the very consciousness of good, of God's presence, in every aspect of our lives.

Central to environmental efforts is the realization that all creation is actually spiritual. While we may be accustomed to thinking of ourselves as physical beings, dwelling on a physical earth, with ever-diminishing resources, Jesus' works proved that this limited view is mistaken. For instance, Jesus once sat on a ship so that he could preach to the people on the shore (see Luke 5:1-10). Afterward, he told the fisherman who owned the ship to let down the nets. The fisherman told Jesus that he and his partners in another boat had fished all night without success. But at Jesus' word, he did let down his net and this time caught an overwhelming number of fish-more than enough to fill both ships.

In our efforts to redeem the planet, we can first look away, as Jesus did, from the conditions at hand to focus on God and His spiritual qualities-such as love, purity, and goodness. These are the real substance of creation, and they are opposite to elements such as greed, shortsightedness, materialism, and other things that would poison the earth. Mary Baker Eddy discovered Christian Science. She wrote Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, in which appears this statement: "Let unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love-the kingdom of heaven-reign within us, and sin, disease, and death will diminish until they finally disappear" (p. 248).

Love for humanity is especially important in understanding God and applying spiritual ideas to solving human problems. Love opens the way to solutions that help meet the needs for employment and resources, as well as for protecting the environment. This love isn't merely a desire to get along with others and somehow pacify them. It grows out of an increasing understanding that we are God's children. As such, we each can express the kind of love that Jesus expressed-a forgiving, insightful, intelligent love. It is a love that heals, that leads to solutions, and that brings people together instead of separating them.

When this love fills your consciousness, it blesses everything that comes to your attention or enters your life. This includes your-and everyone's-environment.

You can find more articles about spiritual healing in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine.

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