Toward a new sense of family

A Christian Science perspective: We can cherish the freshness and promise that youth represents.

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Imagine for a moment a huge family with a large support network. It has different individuals and viewpoints; some relationships are forged by birth, some by choice; some individuals are blood relatives, some are in-laws; some are young, some are old; some carry the same last name, some have different ones.

In an ideal family, the whole cares for the individual parts – the family takes care of each member, responding to each one’s different needs. The ideal family strengthens each person by expressing unconditional love and active support toward all its members, expressing brotherhood and sisterhood without question. In this ideal family no one is left behind. No one is hopeless, jobless, or futureless. The ideal family doesn’t go about its business while one member is in trouble. Family members unite to support and encourage, as long as the special attention is needed.

This ideal family is real. It is the brotherhood or sisterhood of God’s sons and daughters, described in the Bible as one united flock guided by God, the divine Shepherd. The book of Isaiah puts it this way: “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young” (40:11). This ideal family is Love’s beautiful creation. Life, God, is the power, the bond, and the vision for this family.

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A lack of family is frightening, as described in the first book of the Bible. Unlike Cain, who responded to God’s question about where his brother Abel was by asking, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen. 4:9), we can with confidence reply, “Yes, I am my brother’s keeper. I care for my brothers and sisters, and I yearn for everyone to enjoy the same promise, health, and happiness.” Whatever our experience with our human family may be, we all are part of this one divine family. In God’s kingdom, your family is never in question.

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor, wrote: “Man is the family name for all ideas, – the sons and daughters of God. All that God imparts moves in accord with Him, reflecting goodness and power” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 515).

So we can refresh our family sense, deepen our compassion for the world’s youth, and cherish within us the freshness and promise that youth represents. This will open new ways to give help and support. We can recognize our youth as standing for the greening of humanity, the continuous development and strength of goodness unfolding in purity and awareness. And we can acknowledge that this greening is spiritually empowered – divinely impelled and unfolded with ease, from an irresistible force.

Mrs. Eddy also wrote, “The rich in spirit help the poor in one grand brotherhood, all having the same Principle, or Father; and blessed is that man who seeth his brother’s need and supplieth it, seeking his own in another’s good” (p. 518). We all are employed in God’s service without condition. We are all “originals” – having our origin in our common Father-Mother. We can pray to see glimpses of this spiritual family as we unite in caring for those in our immediate family as well as for those brothers and sisters in our larger family of God’s sons and daughters.

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