Just a few months ago, the news was heavily dominated by concern over the ability of computer systems to make a smooth transition from the year 1999 to 2000.
On Jan. 1, there was little to report - except the good news that, outside of a few isolated incidents, everything was operational. Interviewees from the public and private sectors throughout the world told journalists essentially the same thing: people had mobilized to do what was needed to solve a potential problem. And they had succeeded. Since then, we've heard virtually nothing more about it.
This got me to thinking: Here was a problem that, if not recognized, faced, and solved, could have posed enormous threats to the health, safety, and economy of millions. The news played an important role in bringing this situation to people's attention. People responded with diligent action.
Solutions that bless all parties involved aren't always easy to come by. But in families, schools, communities, businesses, governments, and among entire nations, such solutions are sorely needed. They were embraced in Mary Baker Eddy's purpose in founding this very newspaper. "The object of the Monitor is to injure no man, but to bless all mankind," she said ("The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," pg. 353). I've asked myself how I can adopt this purpose in my own approach to the news, and in some way contribute to helping humanity. My conclusion is that solutions that bless everyone can come only through prayer.
There are so many needs. So many voices. In prayer, we hear the voice we need to hear - the voice of God, who knows all, and is always giving beneficial, healing ideas to His creation. Even as we hear, or are involved in, the news events of today, God is saying, "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness" (Isa. 41:10).
God is divine Love, the one universal and ever-present Father and Mother of all. One God. One voice. This same voice speaks directly to the consciousness of each one of us. "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," written by Mrs. Eddy, says, "Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness" (pg. 332).
The message we hear when we listen to the voice of God is that we are made in His image, and are therefore spiritual, unlimited, good, whole, and pure - like Him. That we are governed by His supreme law of love, and not by the often unmerciful laws of materiality and mortality that threaten to undermine our health and harmony.
Listening to God's voice changes people. It breaks down the limited, unhealthy views we have mistakenly held about ourselves and other people. It replaces these views with better views that are truer to God. It's through prayer that our thoughts become clearer, our bodies healthier, our characters purer, our lives more useful.
An important aspect of my prayers in regard to the news is to want to be receptive to what's true of each man, woman, and child in the eyes of God. When I let God's voice guide my thinking as I listen to, read, watch, news reports, I'm much more careful about what I gather into thought, how I digest it mentally, and how I discuss it with others. I'm much less quick to judge people, or to form biased opinions about the way things are going, or ought to go. Often, this means pausing to ask God for new spiritual light on some issue, and then trusting that God is imparting this light, right now, to the consciousness of everyone - and that, therefore, we can all hear the solution that's best for everyone.
When one person in a room flips a switch that turns on a beautiful musical recording, or opens a curtain, harmony and light reverberate to everyone in that room. Doesn't it make sense that when even one individual listens to the voice of God and receives light from Him, spiritual harmony and light reverberate throughout the whole mental atmosphere of humankind, causing people to respond with intelligent, compassionate action? This brings good news we can all share in.
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society