Asking the right question if tragedy strikes

A Christian Science perspective.

When a tragedy of great magnitude comes before us and we see our fellow sisters and brothers suffer, often the first response is “I feel so helpless!” This is sometimes followed by guilt – as we take in events from the safety of our warm, well-lit surroundings. I know because I’ve been there.

But as a Christian Scientist I’ve been quickly humbled, because more and more I’m coming to see that the notion of feeling helpless is not a condition I want to establish for myself – or anybody else. Especially at times that require a spiritual – a healing – perspective.

The discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, guides us when she says, “All God’s servants are minute men and women” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 158). But isn’t it interesting how sometimes we aren’t quite so alert in heeding the call of that instantaneous response that affirms God’s power and activity? Sometimes we allow our own limited sense of “self,” which obscures Spirit’s omnipresence, to try to rule the day. This brings the focus back to ourselves with feelings of helplessness.

How much more dynamic and healing it is to answer rightly the question she puts forth in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “Are thoughts divine or human? That is the important question” (p. 462). When we nourish the divine in consciousness, she goes on, “It unfolds the hallowed influences of unselfishness, philanthropy, spiritual love.” This wide embrace lays claim to comfort and care for those in distress, those in need. We are then lovingly led to assist in whatever on-the-ground efforts are tender and effective – efforts that are inspired by and motivated by God, as this passage from the Bible describes: “Blessed be God ... the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (II Corinthians 1:3, 4).

As we work out from the acknowledgment of divine Mind’s government, we refuse the suggestion that there is somewhere God is not, or that He is somehow helpless. Christian Science sheds light on the fact that God, Love, fills all space. This holy, inviolate space can never be stagnant, unproductive, or remote.

Consistently affirming this in our prayers, we are indeed “minute men and women.” As we nourish the divine in consciousness, our elevated thought becomes a force for good, blessing the world in ways we can’t possibly outline in the moment.

That’s the beauty of God’s grace, isn’t it? That even at times when we yearn so deeply to see and understand more of it, we can trust that it is assuredly at hand. For everyone.

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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.