Opening the door to fresh views

A Christian Science perspective.

Chance and change are sometimes paralleled as negatives. Chance is an unpredictable happening we can do without, but change is essential to progress, and when rightly conceived it is welcome.

There's a line in a hymn with the words "No change my heart shall fear" (Anna L. Waring, "Christian Science Hymnal," No. 148). When I first read it, I mistakenly thought it meant that I didn't have to be afraid because there would be no change in my human circumstances. But at that time in my life so many things needed to be different that I couldn't bear to think that there would be no change.

As I pondered the hymn more thoroughly, I realized it said something quite different:

In heavenly Love abiding,
No change my heart shall fear;
And safe is such confiding,
For nothing changes here.

This is a reminder of the absolute nature of God, where all is unchanging good. The more any of us learns of this divine nature and spiritual living, the more improvement there is in our lives. And this kind of improvement naturally involves change.

It would be good if we could say that all new and progressive moves were eagerly sought and welcomed for the right ideas they represent. But this isn't always true. What is it that sometimes leads someone to reject a new and bright idea? It's often a latent, and possibly deeply hidden, fear of change.

The Bible's book of the prophet Malachi records God's word in this way: "For I am the Lord, I change not" (3:6). It might be said that a growing understanding of the changeless nature of God has been a bulwark that has allowed civilization to progress. Knowing this Creator and Ruler of all things spiritual is the basis from which people find all that is changeless, as well as the way to correct what needs correcting.

Humanly there is no standing still, and we can be grateful for that. But wanting change just for change's sake, just because it offers something different from what we're used to, isn't any better that resisting change. An unwitting resistance to new things often comes with age. Staying alert to not being entrapped by such reluctance doesn't mean ignoring the wisdom that comes from years of experience. It does mean applying that wisdom to new circumstances. Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Monitor, once observed, "Progress is born of experience" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 296). Being willing to "experience" new ideas opens the door to fresh views and progressive practices.

When we're confronted with new ways of doing things in our personal lives and jobs, or with new approaches such as those facing this newspaper as it meets the demands of a digital age, we need not fear. The one changeless God will right the wrongs, if there be any, and progress will widen experience to include more of humanity.

Anyone can accept the assurance from these lines of the hymn quoted earlier:

Green pastures are before me,
 Which yet I have not seen;
 Bright skies will soon be o'er me,
 Where darkest clouds have been.

Abiding in the consciousness that God's love will never change and will provide steps of progress, we can welcome changes with an open mind. If they are not of God, they will soon give way. And when they are of God, they do move our lives forward.

Humble prayer for the grace of God to govern our lives keeps thought open to new ideas. This divine grace also fosters patience with people who aren't yet ready to adopt some needed change. As I began learning years ago, there's no need to fear that necessary changes will not come about. Prayer to the unchanging and all-loving God will give us the grace to accept new ways of doing things at the right time and in the right way.

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