Immigration and a way to see one another

A Christian Science perspective.

I was in the grocery store, earnestly examining the zucchini, when the voice of someone whose native language wasn’t English interrupted my thoughts. “Can you tell me how to cook these?” she asked, holding an artichoke.

I was anxious about getting to an appointment, but my heart said firmly, “Be hospitable.” The woman’s simple vocabulary (in relation to artichokes) led to repeated explanations, but her desire to cook good foods for her family was so great that it lifted me out of my fear of tardiness.

As I left the store, I recalled the intense feelings many have about both illegal and legal immigrants, not just in the United States but in other countries, too. With severe economic challenges and high unemployment, it’s easy to understand. And I can’t say I’ve never wondered about these things myself.

Yet the Bible gives many examples of how Jesus responded to “outsiders”: the Roman soldier whose servant was sick (see Luke 7:2-10), the Canaanite woman who asked Jesus to cast a devil out of her daughter (see Matthew 15:22-28). Then there’s the Samaritan woman he talked with by the well, whose life he transformed in those few moments (see John 4:1-29).

It makes you wonder if Jesus saw anyone as beneath God’s loving care. As a student of the Scriptures, he would surely have known this statement from the prophet Ezekiel, who perceived God as saying, “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine” (Ezekiel 18:4). “All” seems pretty inclusive.

To me, these encounters between Jesus and the people he healed are explained in Mary Baker Eddy’s book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” She wrote of Christ as “the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness” (p. 332).

Christ reveals to each of us the true spiritual selfhood that’s ours – and everyone’s. No one is left out of this blessing of God’s unending love for each of His children. No one gets more than another. Nor is there a shortage of good to go around. Every single child of God – you, me, our neighbors, the woman who asked me about artichokes – is under Love’s care, provided with love, and guided by Love.

What does that mean in terms of immigration laws? Should we do away with the border patrol and related agencies? Not at all. But what we can do away with is the fear that somehow good can be taken away from us. Nor can people across the border be deprived of good where they are.

To whatever degree we can see one another through the eyes of God’s love, we’ll reach a new level of trust in God’s goodness, His healing and restoring power. We’ll see ever more clearly that the “true idea voicing good” is voicing good for all of us, to all of us, all the time.

And speaking of time, despite the artichokes, I completed all my errands and was on time for the appointment. “Be hospitable,” said the heart. It’s a good thought.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

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