The Internet has been buzzing recently with a video clip from "Britain's Got Talent," a television program similar to "American Idol." In a world of sound bytes and put-downs, the video gave me a glimpse of how I can do a better job of being my "brother's keeper," being better at caring for others and lifting others up. And it reminded me, too, about God's loving presence everywhere.
If you missed it, Susan Boyle is a modest, middle-aged woman from a small Scottish village. Her amazing singing voice, coming after her unimpressive verbal introduction, surprised and awed the judges and audience. Their response changed from derision and skepticism to wild enthusiasm and joy.
While this was wonderful to witness, I saw it as more than just a human response. To me, the audience's changed response was evidence of a universal family of brothers and sisters and a living, good God. And it showed how quickly evidence of judgment or disinterest can change to acceptance and support.
What was the catalyst for the change? How did it come about? I believe it came about through the expression of spiritual qualities. Often this is how God is made evident to us, through honesty, beauty, courage, intelligence, strength. In Ms. Boyle's case, it was her wonderful expression of grace, goodness and even beauty – despite not fitting the traditional mold. That expression changed the audience. They became her friends! It was almost as if, in the presence of goodness, the spiritual nature of individuals in the audience was brought to the fore, resulting in caring and generosity. Seconds before, they had been critics, now they were her advocates.
"Advocate" is a strong word, and it has biblical underpinnings. It denotes one who is on your side, one who pleads your cause. If a case is brought against you in a court of law, the defense attorney is your advocate. He argues on your behalf.
In the New Testament, the word meaning advocate came from the original Greek word parakletos, translated into English as "Comforter." This is the "Spirit of truth" that Jesus promised his disciples shortly before his crucifixion. He said, "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever" (John 14:16, 17). This Comforter speaks to us of God's constant, loving presence. It is seen in our lives by the expression of spiritual qualities that advocate for us and comfort us.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science and founded this newspaper, equated the Comforter to Christian Science, divine law as applied to humanity. She wrote: "Science is an emanation of divine Mind, and is alone able to interpret God aright. It has a spiritual, and not a material origin. It is a divine utterance, – the Comforter which leadeth into all truth" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 127).
I find great hope and peace in knowing that God's law of love is always advocating for me, always comforting me. And God is doing this for everyone. Through Christian Science, a case is being built in consciousness for each of us to see our spiritual nature, providing us with evidence of this fact.
Spiritual qualities are being expressed all the time. When I'm alert and paying attention, I can see this advocating, comforting action of God all around and true for all. This is what I saw when the audience of that TV show suddenly reversed from cynicism to joy and support. I saw it as evidence of God's advocacy, God's comfort in action – evidence of caring and lifting up. It happens every day. It happens every minute.