UNTIL you've been through one, it's impossible to understand fully what a hurricane is. Sadly, the same can be said of an earthquake, of course. There's something ironically reorienting, however, about the experience. The routine of ordinary life fades to insignificance as more fundamental things take center stage. Care for family and home, readiness to help neighbors and strangers, and the most compelling empathy for people in disaster-swept or war-ravaged communities clearly become the most important concerns. It is during such lucid moments that we begin to realize that life can be lived in far different ways from those we might ordinarily consider. This may be why the Gospels, telling of Christ Jesus' life and words, are so stirring. These accounts are convinced of deep affection for God and man, combined with urgent human need.
Jesus describes in one of his parables a king blessing those who fed him when he was hungry, gave him drink when he was thirsty, clothed him, gave him refuge, visited him when he was sick, and came to him when he was in prison. Those who were commended wondered when they had done these deeds. Continuing the parable, the king answers, ``Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.''1
Jesus' life helps us understand that as remarkable as his healing works were, the primary thing is the spiritual love that produced these works. The Master's response, showing what humanity is capable of through active, healing, life-regenerating love, epitomizes the force that lies behind New Testament Christianity.
Such spiritual impulse develops in us the knowledge of man as the spiritual idea of God. Such insight causes deep humanitarian feelings to well up in us, and this compels good works as well as good thoughts -- thoughts from God.
Whatever disaster we face, divine Love, God, enables us to overcome it. This isn't just a sweet sentiment; it is imperative that our understanding of God-created identity and ability transcend material conditions and cause us to live differently.
Writing about this spiritual nature of man, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, believed that our capacity to love comes from God. Understanding this develops within us the ability to be healed and to heal as Jesus said his followers could do. Mrs. Eddy discovered that there is an order, or Science, that underlies such healing. It's not happenstance.
If so-called miracles are needed, then these miracles need to be seen as deriving from God. ``Miracles are no infraction of God's laws,'' Mrs. Eddy reminds us; ``on the contrary, they fulfil His laws; for they are the signs following Christianity, whereby matter is proven powerless and subordinate to Mind.''2
The necessity to overcome evil relates to the entire condition of humanity, including the healing of disease and recovery from disaster. Such healing begins with the admission that we can live wholly in response to God's purpose for man. This step can result in something as simple as contributing right away to disaster relief funds, but it can't end there. Nothing but striving to understand more fully how to heal and to help through divine Love's power can fully satisfy the yearning for compassion. This is the spiritual awakening that can respond to the needs of an entire region as much as to a single life. And, the fact of the matter is, we need to seek out opportunities to help in order to be helped ourselves.
1Matthew 25:40. 2Miscellaneous Writings, p. 29.
This is a condensed version of an editorial that appeared in the December 4, 1989, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.