Connected in true community

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

The whole world has opportunities to relate not just to the person next door but to the neighbor who is not next door. Technologies enable people from New Orleans to Harare, and Toowoomba to Berlin, to connect "virtually." This has huge advantages, including the fact that the Internet helps keep people in touch with far-flung family and friends, as well as forge new relationships. Websites, including CSMonitor.com, are encouraging site visitors to help establish a community dialogue.

Some experts speak of the Web's downside, fearing that more digital communication leads to isolation and lack of connectedness. Finding the right balance begins with, and will be sustained by, a deeper exploration of the Truth that is God. As people grasp their connectedness to the one divine source, they'll discern better what Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy discovered to be the divine law that bases all beneficial relationships. Echoing Jesus, she wrote, "You will learn that in Christian Science the first duty is to obey God, to have one Mind, and to love another as yourself" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 496).

The knowledge that each one of us has one Mind, one intelligent source for our ideas, is a connection that predates the Internet and defines the love that binds all relationships. Today's global community, forged in large part by Internet ties, has produced many examples of this love for one's far-flung neighbor: children who raised money to help those affected by the Southeast Asian tsunami, support for people kidnapped by insurgents, and environmental projects conducted through schools or other organizations.

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With more online communities, people are no longer isolated from those they yearn to help. Being informed of world issues is now a 24/7 capability. And while it can be daunting to take on in prayer what appear to be massive global problems, a commitment to the possibility of healing keeps hope alive and keeps thought open to the divine inspiration that brings solutions.

The healer sees Truth's transforming presence, independent of time, space, or physical evidence. This is looking at the world in the light of the Christ, which Christian Science defines in part as God's message of love for all humanity. Doing good to others is a deeply Christian act that can go beyond giving food to one hungry man or woman. It can redeem the whole human scene through the understanding that addresses the roots of poverty, persecution, or other issues of deep concern. Then one ends up wanting not just to give peace to one person but to bring a whole nation, or a whole world, to peace.

Healing at this level involves the recognition that divine Love cares for all its ideas and doesn't see any of them as members of political parties or insurgent groups. Nor does the Christian healer see others as hopelessly diseased, illiterate, ignorant, or cursed by heredity or geographic location. Instead, the healer perceives the nature of each individual as the child of God, and as inherently conscious of divine governance, even when conditions claim that God cannot be present.

St. Paul wrote, "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ" (Gal. 6:2). A tedious job that no one would want to undertake? Our own burdens may seem heavy enough! But this burden is eased when we look at our global neighbors with the knowledge that all of God's ideas can relate peacefully. Or when we follow Jesus' guidance to his disciples: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations" (Matt. 28:19).

This standpoint shows the value of understanding our neighbors' challenges – bearing their burdens – and taking the next step of uplifting them through prayer that declares Truth's allness and goodness and its transforming power, however hopeless things may seem.

When we approach community – online as well as in our backyards – as Christians and healers, we're committing to bearing witness to the transforming power of the Christ. Then we'll bless humanity in ways we haven't seen before.

Adapted from the Christian Science Sentinel (Dec. 1).

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