Spiritual Activism

Bringing a spiritual perspective to world events and daily life.

There are many activist groups at work in the world today. Ending warfare, disease, homelessness, hunger, and the deterioration of the environment are just some of the causes they fight for. But as well-meaning as they are, they also sometimes fall short of their intended goals.

What does it mean to be an activist? One definition is "one who subscribes to a doctrine of taking positive, direct action to achieve an end."

Many years ago Christ Jesus, the Son of God, practiced activism of a much different kind. His kind was spiritual. He took "positive, direct action" against sickness, sin, and even death through reliance on God. This healed people suffering from those troubles. He urged all who followed him to do the same when he said, "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give" (Matthew 10:8).

Jesus' basis for taking his activist stance in healing was his knowledge, his understanding, that God and His creation are one, and are spiritual in nature. Christian Science explains Jesus' healings in its textbook Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, written by the Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. It states that his healings were natural works attainable by all who understand and follow his teachings, not miraculous works that were his personally. Christian Science brings a conscious unity with God that enables you, me, or anyone to approach the kind of healing works that Jesus did.

God is Spirit. His children are like Him, meaning they are spiritual -- not physical. This identity is the true identity of everyone. Conversely, the all-too-common picture of mortals who are suffering, sick, sinning, and doomed to die is really false. When faced with trouble of whatever type, we can correct thought. We can know that the situation isn't accurate unless it represents God's already perfect, spiritual creation. It is always erroneous thought that is the source of trouble, and not something external. So keeping this "positive, direct action" going in thought, we benefit from this activism.

Here's an example. Not long ago I was waiting for a train. I noticed a young woman lying on the floor of the station. Her concerned friend was kneeling at her side. It was apparent to me that the woman was in some sort of distress, and I began praying. I remembered that God made us spiritual -- exempt from discord, including any discomfort, pain, or illness. I was not praying specifically for that person, because I hadn't been asked to. But I was praying to correct my thought about the situation.

During this time of prayer a great peace enveloped me. I resisted the temptation to stare at what was happening, remembering this statement from Science and Health: "Look away from the body into Truth and Love, the Principle of all happiness, harmony, and immortality. Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts" (p. 261). I did notice at one point, however, that two paramedics had come with a stretcher. I continued to pray. A few minutes later I glanced over. The woman was sitting on a bench unaided, and was in the process of dismissing the paramedics.

What had happened? Had my prayer really brought healing to the situation? I feel it made an important contribution. The assurance I had that all was enveloped in God's love-the absence of fear and the feeling of peace-was real. It's important to emphasize that my prayer was involved with correcting my own thought about the situation I was seeing. That's what prayer is all about. And prayer really does heal, regardless of distance and regardless of the type of problem. Prayer can, of course, lead us to take additional actions. In this case it did not. So you can pray while serving in a homeless shelter, donating to a charity, or volunteering for a neighborhood cleanup day.

Prayer is activism, "positive, direct action," in its highest form. This kind of activism gets right down to the root of the problem. It corrects the thoughts that are the causes of illness, environmental pollution, or the "pollution" of homes and families. It heals.

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