Moving from fear to trust

A Christian Science perspective: How can we feel safe in today's world?

As one looks at the instant news feeds that report bombings, wars, accidents, and other threats to peace and security, the world looks like a really scary place. How do we make sense of horrible things that happen? How can we feel safe when there seem to be so many threats that could harm us or our loved ones?

Those questions hit home for me recently when my nephew and I had watched a family member run in the Boston Marathon. We were very close to the bombings, and the next day my nephew was getting a lot of questions from his friends about what had happened. It seemed time for a few quiet comments.

In trying to calm the fear of a dangerous world full of threats, it’s helpful to look at the life and works of Jesus Christ and think about what he was seeing, doing, and knowing when he healed multitudes. When crowds of people came to him for healing, he turned them to the truth that he knew about them. He saw past the surface to the real, perfect man/woman of God’s creating. He knew that God saw them only as whole, healthful, complete, safe, loved, and unbroken. This Christ-seeing restored sight, allowed the lame to walk, cleansed the lepers, and even raised the dead.

The book of Genesis in the Bible tells us that God created male and female in His image and likeness. The Bible also identifies God as almighty. An all-powerful God is not vulnerable to attack from evil of any sort.

Throughout all history there have been those who could see these truths and bring comfort and healing to humanity. These healers could see past the material circumstance of fear, danger, and harm to the comforting love of God as all that is present. This comforting love, this truth-seeing about God and man, is the Christ. This is the absolute truth that Jesus lived and proved to his followers. He also told his disciples that they, too, could perform these healings and do even greater works.

Following Jesus’ example, Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, also performed many healings through her inspired understanding of the Master’s teachings. She understood the spiritual nature of creation and rejected the material picture. She explained this healing method in her textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.”

While we aren’t fully experiencing the perfection that Jesus proved to his disciples, we can still gently yield to God’s power and see everyone in need as surrounded by Love’s comfort. The presence of a loved one may be out of our sight, but it is never lost. We can still cherish and develop in our own lives all the good qualities that individual expressed.

In praying for those who suffered injuries or loss in a disaster, we can acknowledge that God, good, is with them, nurturing and sustaining them. I’ve found it useful in my prayer to affirm that evil is never the victor over good, because God’s love overturns any belief in evil as a power or a person. When we reject the evil – give it no power – it cannot make us live in fear of its threats.

The commitment to overcome evil by continuing to run in the Boston Marathon next year and express freedom is already being voiced by some runners in commemoration of those who lost their lives or were injured in Boston. It is in this renewal that we can honor them and know that the spirit that their lives expressed continues.

Step by step it becomes clear that the conditions of the material world never touch the man and woman of God’s creating because we are actually spiritual, indestructible, eternal. This is an absolute, forever fact, and it removes us from the picture of a frail, human existence that is constantly threatened by sin, sickness, or death.

To the question, “How can I live in safety?” we can add, “How is it possible to heal a world that is so bound up in violence, hate, and fear?” The answer is the same as it was in Jesus’ time: It is possible to heal by turning to God and away from the material picture. Or as it’s said on the first page of Science and Health, “The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God, – a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love.”

We don’t have to see the world as a scary place but can actively take steps to free humanity from this way of seeing things and turn thought to God’s ever-present care, always at hand. We can yield to God’s love for all, put aside every selfish care, and pray for all the world.

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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.”

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