Stilling the economic storm

A Christian Science perspective.

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The dinner-table discussion about the economy came to an abrupt halt when a 6-year-old girl put up her hand and said, "Daddy, where is the economy?" Since economic matters have taken center stage, I've thought about that question many times, and I've decided that my young friend's question was more perceptive than most of us around the table that night believed. Yes, the economy is the managed resources of a household or community. That is what it is. Where it is, however, is the more interesting consideration.

Recently, I listened to one news channel's "economic summit." Words such as scary, frightening, and fear were all used in the opening remarks. But then one economist described a particular action by banks, which he said could change the direction of the economy dramatically and quickly, and for the better. The words calm, restraint, and reasonable began to emerge in the discussion, and the tone of the program changed from that point on.

The economy is essentially a mental phenomenon. It's the collective thought about the management of resources. It exists, then, in human consciousness. So what controls human consciousness is the key. And that's why these economic matters, though looming large in people's thought, are governable. Since God governs all things, there is nothing too big, too chaotic, too complicated, or too fragile for His All-might.

Come along with me, back several centuries to a ship on a stormy night. So stormy in fact that the ship was filling up with water. Christ Jesus' disciples were agitated and frightened, and went to find their Master. Jesus was asleep on a pillow. The disciples had to wake him up and explain that they were in danger. He got up and "rebuked the wind" and said to the sea, "Peace, be still." The Bible states that there was then "a great calm" (Mark 4:39). And then, he turned to the disciples, as though he simply couldn't understand their mental state, and asked, "Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?"

In this account, at least two things are going on. The disciples are as disturbed and agitated as the strong winds and the raging sea. They even ask Jesus if he cares whether they all perish. And then, there is Jesus, asleep on a pillow in utter peace. It seems to me that he was operating in an entirely different atmosphere – another consciousness. The disciples were swept up in fear; he was aware of God's presence and power, controlling all things harmoniously.

Jesus told the wind and sea to be peaceful, just as one of us might tell the dog to stop barking. But his real attention went to the disciples' thought. It could be that in his questions to them about their fear and faith, he was actually asking them where they were looking for help and peace. The differences in Jesus's experience and that of his disciples point out that our experience is a direct result of our consciousness.

How does this relate to today's economy? It might seem that at present, fear holds the reins. But anyone who has experienced fear knows that with understanding, fear's apparent grip withers. Fear is the anticipation of something evil taking hold, but once it is understood that God is good and has all power, the threat is seen to be powerless.

Mary Baker Eddy wrote in a poem called "Christ My Refuge" ("Poems," p. 12):

And o'er earth's troubled, angry sea

I see Christ walk,

And come to me, and tenderly,

Divinely talk.

Since the Christ consciousness – the promise of God's ever-present company to guide, to correct, and to deliver – is the healing consciousness, it makes perfect sense for each of us to take the calm and clear confidence of the Christ as our lens during these days. The Christ simply doesn't include fear, dismay, or inaction. The Christ is full of hope, knowing only the goodness and benevolence of God. We can take our refuge with the Christ – rebuking fear and establishing peace, cushioned by divine Love, which is conscious of its perfectly maintained balance, or economy.

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