YESTERDAY'S article discussed the sin that underlies much of the starvation and suffering we see in the world. It talked about Jesus' demand to love our neighbor as ourselves and about the Scriptural judgment on those who see their brothers' and sisters' dire need and fail to supply it. But the article also noted that charity and philanthropy, of themselves, cannot eradicate world hunger. Even enlightened social and educational programs cannot get at the root of the problem and break the bonds of sin and ignorance that bind humanity. Only the Christ can do that -- the Christ, which Jesus demonstrated as a healing and saving power when he established Christianity and called humanity to claim its inheritance as the sons of God. This Christ is the ever-present manifestation of God and His goodness in the world. Christ, being divine, predates the human Jesus and has appeared today as a healing and saving Science that tens of thousands have come to rely on to meet their needs.
The Christ Science, or Christian Science, was the discovery of Mary Baker Eddy. Her love of mankind was surpassed only by her love of God. Her life was one of devotion to the alleviation and healing of sin, disease, and suffering. In her major work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she wrote: ``The lame, the deaf, the dumb, the blind, the sick, the sensual, the sinner, I wished to save from the slavery of their own beliefs and from the educational systems of the Pharaohs, who to-day, as of yore, hold the children of Israel in bondage.''1
She knew she had discovered the spiritual law underlying Jesus' dramatic ministry and saw in this law a ``very present help in trouble.''2 As she says in Science and Health, ``The law of the divine Mind must end human bondage, or mortals will continue unaware of man's inalienable rights and in subjection to hopeless slavery, because some public teachers permit an ignorance of divine power, -- an ignorance that is the foundation of continued bondage and of human suffering.''3
The divine Mind she is speaking of is God, the creative Mind of the universe and the source of all that is eternally good and beautiful. When the Bible admonishes, ``Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus,''4 it is urging us to have as our very consciousness that Mind which is infinite Love and Truth, divine Spirit itself. What does this mean? Having that Mind expressed in us means seeing things spiritually instead of materially.
This seeing, Science and Health explains, is what the Son of God did: ``Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick.''5
When we see those terrible images of starvation and suffering on television, we don't have to be overwhelmed. Our love and compassion can go further than human sympathy, which is often helpless to do anything. We can let these pictures of suffering serve to impel us beyond a limited, materialistic sense of man to a clear perception of his true selfhood, of his spiritual sonship as the child of God. We can realize in prayer God's love and tender care for His children right when the material senses say there's no God to be found. This isn't some form of religious positive thinking! It's what Jesus did with utter conviction of God's love, and it has power to help and heal, literally to change human conditions.
Prayer based in this Christlike understanding of God and man is a power. It heals the sick. It uncovers and destroys sin. To know that man is not material but spiritual, and that the material sense of life is fraudulent, destroys fear. It helps us see that material conditions do not have the substance they seem to have but must ultimately yield to the reality of harmonious Spirit.
People change under the impact of such Christly prayer. So do societies and political and military situations. The recent modest steps of progress toward world peace should encourage us to do more praying for the world. Humani-tarian efforts for the hungry and home-less need spiritual underpinnings if they are to make a difference. Spiritual vision is needed, and this is what Christian Science offers the world -- a vision of man with power to prove that he is in fact the son of God.
1Science and Health, p. 226. 2Psalms 46:1. 3Science and Health, p. 227. 4Philippians 2:5. 5Science and Health, pp. 476-477. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Where there is no vision, the people perish. Proverbs 29:18