Last month, the Monitor published an article on superstitions, noting that associations with the number 8 can be seen as positive, but can also be associated with bad things that have happened in China so far this year, such as the Sichuan earthquake. So seen this way, the Olympics, which begin on the eighth day of the eighth month, could be very successful – or be double trouble ("Superstitions fly as Chinese reel from a bad (luck) year," June 20).
Many people throughout the world have superstitions. When a sports team is in the playoffs, fans will resort to "good luck" hats or follow a special routine so that their team will win. People on both sides may be equally devoted to their superstitions and in effect cancel each other out. But that's actually the point: There is no real logic to superstitious beliefs and actions.
Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this newspaper, wrote in her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," "Superstition and understanding can never combine" (p. 288). To rely on superstition is to trust oneself to chance and luck, which even at their best are fickle "friends."
In her discovery that Jesus' teachings were actually a Science – spiritual laws that all people can practice – she also brought to light a new view of God. Many people believed then, and still believe today, that God is fickle, helping some and ignoring others. But seeing God as divine Principle – the source of all real law – removes chance, luck, and superstition. It declares that omnipotent good is available to each of us and provides for our needs with individual care.
In practical terms, this means that we aren't subject to randomness – good or bad. As the children of Spirit, each of us is under divine law, which protects us from chance – from the temptations of good luck and the dangers of bad. Even the desire for good luck can be tricky because there's no guarantee when or if that good luck will come along. That's because there's no real principle to it. To rely on luck is to accept into our lives an element that has no real commitment to helping and blessing us.
God, on the other hand, is our loving Creator. As Mrs. Eddy put it in one of her books, "God is understandable, knowable, and applicable to every human need" ("The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," p. 238).
This is one of the most important differences between hoping for luck and relying on God. Divine Principle is knowable as a loving Father-Mother, providing stability and the certainty of unchanging, unending, and unlimited good. No one really knows where or when luck – good or bad – will strike.
Given the importance of the Olympics and the opportunity it provides for athletes, it seems especially important to pray for divine Principle's presence and governance during the Games. Our prayers can claim each athlete's right to be free of injury – not subject to the form of bad luck called "accidents" – and to be safe from some random act of violence or terrorism. Nor can the chance occurrence of sickness and disease deprive them of the right to compete. No bureaucratic obstacles regarding travel or travel documents can interfere with divine Principle's good plan for them or for the other people who will be attending the Games.
And those who lose in events don't need to be shattered by the result. They can feel the comfort of Christ – of God's presence with each of us. In a letter to the first Christians in Corinth, Deity is described as "the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation" (II Cor. 1:3, 4). Each athlete can feel divine Love's tender comforting care and be free of fear or discouragement.
Each day, we can take one or two aspects of the Olympics and affirm that chance and luck have no power to deprive anyone of the good God has in store for them.
And as we're doing this, we can also claim God's tender care for ourselves and our loved ones. Because in God's eyes, all of us are His much-loved champions.