A Christian Science perspective.

Those words came yearningly over the phone to me. My heart went out in immediate affirmation, “Yes, God needs you to be His effect!” And then almost without hesitation I found myself also declaring, “But He doesn’t need you to be a cause.” I had never uttered those exact words before in trying to explain the place that each of us, as God’s idea, holds in creation, but I felt their clear assurance with every fiber of my being. And what a relief both statements are.

We are needed! As God’s spiritual ideas, each one of us is precious, beloved, and known to God. We are held in our divine Principle, embraced in timeless eternity as the expression of Soul. I once heard in a Christian Science lecture that each of us is the completing of infinity. Like numbers that are each vital to the infinite nature of mathematics, so, too, the one, great infinite, God, divine Mind, needs every single one of its infinite ideas in expression in order to be the infinite. What security this brings to us to feel that our place is forever established in God, divine Principle. Nobody is competing for our place. In fact, we all can be so grateful for one another as fellow ideas that complete infinity, because each one of us is fulfilling our place in God’s self-completeness.

But equally reassuring is the knowledge that we are never needed to be a cause. The Bible makes it very plain that God is the only cause and creator. “For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast” (Psalms 33:9), and “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it” (Ecclesiastes 3:14). And Mary Baker Eddy bases her textbook of Christian Science on this very premise: “All substance, intelligence, wisdom, being, immortality, cause, and effect belong to God” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 275). It is so wonderful to be released from the heavy burden of the theological notion that we somehow have to be the cause of goodness and salvation to ourselves – that somehow we have caused our own fall from grace and now we have to earn it back.

I love to capitalize “Cause” because it helps me think of this as the all-defining nature of the infinite. God has the role as Cause all sewn up. He has never shared, and could never share, that position. Cause is not in time, so time is not a cause. Cause is not in space, so space is not a cause. Cause is not in matter, so matter is not a cause. It’s wonderful to see how perfect and immediate God is as Cause.

Then, too, it becomes wonderful to realize that as effect, we never leave our Cause. The sunbeams illustrate this to me. They are perpetually shining forth from the sun and never for an instant get separated from their source. So they are perpetually needed and supplied by their source. They are forever supported in expression by their source, and nothing affects their relationship to their cause or governs their emanation but the sun. We might hypothesize about what would happen to a sunbeam if we could extract it from the sun; how long could it exist without its cause? But such a thing could never happen because its whole existence is in direct connection to its source.

So, too, each of us, as God’s sons and daughters, stays at one with God or Cause. Just as an effect never leaves its cause, ultimately, we can never go off on our own and misbehave, fall, fail, be inadequate, sin, suffer, be punished, or die. As the effect of our Cause, all demand for our expression and all supply of that expression are one and the same. We never have to worry about health or finances or love. We are attached to the wholeness, abundance, and perfect care of infinite Love. All that’s ever asked of us is to be the effect and not the cause. Any attempt to try to be the cause would be like trying to take a sunbeam out of the sun. Man can never be taken out of the all-governing Mind.

And the best part of all this is that when we restfully surrender to being the effect of the one Cause, we function harmoniously, because we are functioning as we were made to function, and fully enforced by Principle.

It’s an awe-inspiring thing to be at once vital but not burdened. There is simply nothing more joyous than to be what we were made to be – to fulfill our place in completing infinity and to be fully supported by God in doing it.

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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.