Strolling along a Pacific Ocean beach with my husband, I saw hundreds of sand dollars that had washed ashore. I thought at first that they all looked pretty much alike. But actually, no two sand dollars are identical. (For those who may have never seen a sand dollar, they are flat, white, circular sea urchins that look something like a seashell and are harmless.)
This made me think of a few things I have come to learn. Regardless of race, color, age, or even what country we live in, we are all children of one God. But that doesn't mean we're all identical. As spiritual sons and daughters of God, made in His image and likeness, we are, like those sand dollars, each individual, unique! We express God's goodness in an unending variety of ways.
For example, God is Love. When we are loving, we reflect Him. Maybe this means giving someone a smile or a comforting hug. Perhaps we will help a neighbor. We each have our own way of expressing Love.
Now, you might think that this is all very nice, but that you know some people who don't give much evidence of being loving, much less the image of God! It is through learning about the laws of God - the Science of Christianity - that I'm coming to terms with this.
Christ Jesus, who healed by means of God's law, ran into difficult people time and again, according to the Bible. Yet no matter what the appearance, Jesus recognized everyone's true, flawless identity as God's child. And this way of thinking improved the situation at hand.
For instance, think of arriving by ship in a new country, as Jesus did, and being greeted by a man running around naked and screaming (see Luke, Chap. 8). This severely disturbed man lived in the graveyards. I suppose most people were afraid of him. But the Bible shows Jesus was not afraid. He healed the man. The people came to see the man afterward. Luke's Gospel says that they "found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind" (Verse 35).
It is in understanding spiritual identity that we'll heal as Jesus did. As the Christian Science textbook says: "The creative Principle - Life, Truth, and Love - is God. The universe reflects God. There is but one creator and one creation. This creation consists of the unfolding of spiritual ideas and their identities, which are embraced in the infinite Mind and forever reflected. These ideas range from the infinitesimal to infinity, and the highest ideas are the sons and daughters of God" (Mary Baker Eddy, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Pgs. 502-503).
Studying Christian Science has given me a clearer conviction that we are each God's child. We are treasured. Loved. Uniquely precious to God. If everyone understood more that God needs him, needs her, to express His love and goodness - that we're each invaluable - this would reduce depression and even suicide.
When both of my children left home to go to college, I felt sad and no longer needed. Turning to God, I prayed. I acknowledged that we are each needed to express His love. I could rejoice in this. I could listen to Him and be humble enough to seek new activities without fear. Each individual talent, intelligent thought, kind deed, has its source in God. These are His gifts to us, which we receive when we listen to Him.
I took some writing courses at a local college. During the last two years, I've had articles published in newspapers such as this one. The most important point is that this activity fulfills my desire to serve God by expressing His qualities. Stagnation is not a part of God's plan for us.
Identifying yourself as essentially spiritual will change the way you think of yourself and others. Remember, even though all those sand dollars may look the same, no two are identical. In the same way, you express God in a way that is truly valuable and unique!
How precious also are thy
thoughts unto me, O God! how
great is the sum of them! If I
should count them, they are more
in number than the sand.
Psalms 139:17, 18