An Advocate who's always with you

A Christian Science perspective: Paying taxes can be a stressful endeavor. Whether you have professional tax help or not, you have an Advocate.

When a person is faced with unfair taxation circumstances or dire financial straits, it may be prudent to seek recourse through legal or governmental advocacy channels.

But what about seeking spiritual recourse? The advocacy of the Christ – God’s healing and saving power – can go a long way toward unclogging bureaucracy and resolving problems. The Christ-message assures us that no situation has ultimate power to bully or burden us.

Jesus promised, as recorded in John’s gospel, “another Comforter.” The Greek word for “Comforter,” parakletos, is also translated as “Advocate.” The New Revised Standard Version translates that promise: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.... You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you” (John 14:16, 17).

Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Monitor, held that our Advocate is not a person but an infinite, incorporeal Principle – even God, our Father-Mother, who is Life, Truth, and Love. She used the words “Christian Science” to indicate not human but divine laws, or scientific principles, that ever operate to help and heal humanity. Jesus relied on these principles of God’s unchanging goodness to restore shattered lives and to right the wrongs of his day.

A shift in perspective from a material to a spiritual basis is needed. First, put down fear. Employing professional help may lessen anxiety and may be one step in solving the issues. When this kind of direction emerges from prayer, it has a solid basis. But whether you have this help or not, even greater assurance comes from turning your thought to God, divine Love.

Prayer can affirm God’s ever-presence as infinite good; that no problem is too big or complex; that you cannot be separated from Love’s care and protection. The Bible counsels, “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” (Isaiah 41:10).

Next, follow your Advocate’s advice of dos and don’ts. In Christly terms, that means putting the brakes on the false notion that you are alone or helpless. You can stamp out a distorted perspective, based only on physical testimony, that some circumstance can hold you hostage. You can surrender willfulness, resentment, or a dogged sense that there is only one way to untangle a problem. 

Instead, you can develop a growing understanding that there is but one God, one Mind, in control of all. According to biblical truth, we all exist as God’s own reflection or image and therefore are spiritually whole and already include every right idea or quality of God. We are not puppets, being manipulated by other people. Our spiritual individuality – never a victim in God’s eyes – expresses the peace, completeness, wisdom, and intelligence of God. And as we follow our Advocate, the one all-knowing Spirit, the words of Isaiah will hit home: “[T]hine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” (Isaiah 30:21).

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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.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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