Your place in all this

A Christian Science perspective: The world needs your reflected light of God – in exactly the manner you have to offer.

Someone once asked a little boy if God was everywhere. “Oh yes,” he answered. Then he was asked, “What if you were alone on a tiny island out in the middle of the ocean? Would God be there?” “Of course,” he responded. “But how would you know?” He said wisely, “I’d know that God was there because I was there.”

That little guy was hinting at a big truth. Wherever we are, God is there loving us and also fully expressing Himself in us. We are the expressions of God – the literal proofs of His presence. So, yes, we know God is here simply because of the very fact that we are present. Christian Science teaches that we exist, in fact, only because God is expressing us. God, whom the Bible calls Love, is expressing Himself in us constantly, and the result is our spiritual nature, our true goodness.

As expressions of divine Love, we all are loved, accepted, and approved equally. Jesus certainly was aware of this, and we can follow his example and choose to let God’s goodness show more in everyday life. Once Jesus said, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

Jesus wasn’t always accepted by everyone. He didn’t, in fact, try to be accepted by everyone. His life indicates that he simply expressed and reflected God, divine Love, in all that he did, each moment. And while some people took exception to that, just look what letting his light shine accomplished. Expressing God made his life matter. Watch how, as you do the same, your life overflows with meaning.

Everyone reflects the same God, yet we are individuals. Each of us is unique – and necessary. There may be an infinite amount of numbers, but what would happen if, say, the number four was missing? In a way, infinitely more significant than numbers, each expression of God is necessary; each one of us plays a unique part in the whole scheme of things. Without everyone’s uniqueness, God’s, divine Love’s, creation would be incomplete. Shouldn’t we value the uniqueness in each one of God’s creations?

You can start with yourself. No one is quite the expression of God that you are. That means that no one can contribute in exactly the way you can. To contribute by listening for and following God’s direction, by letting God give you ideas and thoughts that express Him, is to follow Jesus’ footsteps.

Mary Baker Eddy, who founded The Christian Science Monitor, states: “Attempts to conciliate society and so gain dominion over mankind, arise from worldly weakness. He who leaves all for Christ forsakes popularity and gains Christianity” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 238).  ​

There is no point in going through life trying to be clones of one another in order to fit in and be accepted. That kind of conformity would smother your individuality. The world can’t afford that. It needs your reflected light of God, your “good works.” And it needs it in exactly the manner you have to offer. Your place in all of this is simply to be the proof that God is present.

“Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God,” says the Bible’s New Testament (Romans 12:2). It may be unconventional, but it’s worth it to be committed to the kind of transformation of thinking and living that expresses the “good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

The way God shows Himself in you is exceptional and irreplaceable. No matter what anyone has said or failed to say, there is great goodness in you. God always accepts you, loves you, and will express in you what will help you and enable you to contribute magnificently. That little boy said wisely, “I’d know that God was there because I was there.” The same goes for you.

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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.