Helping beyond ourselves

A Christian Science perspective.

It’s not hard to realize that much of the world today is under some kind of threat. Whether it’s the lurking threat of terrorism, concerns about sovereign financial crises, or the tragic spectacles of governmental disintegration, famine, or military aggression, there’s little peace to be found right now for the world family.

Most concerned citizens would like to help, but the obvious question is, what can one person do? One person is limited in the scope of what he or she can do. But one person, lifting his or her thoughts to God, begins to discover a range of helpfulness before unknown, because the help comes from God.

The Bible puts it succinctly: “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). This prayer isn’t one person against the whole world’s problems. It’s each of us lifting our thoughts spiritually in order to draw closer to God, to perceive both the presence of God, who is infinite, and the power of God, who is omnipotent.

God is more than most of us realize. God is the source, substance, and intelligence that governs man and the universe. Christian Science refers to God as divine Principle, Love – the Lawgiver that governs all righteously through divine law, the ineffable good that blesses, nurtures, sustains, and meets every need. God is Father-Mother, our creator. God is infinite Spirit, whose creation is spiritual, harmonious, and whole. And each of us is God’s child, His image, expressing the harmony of Spirit, the righteousness of divine Principle, the goodness of divine Love.

The Bible repeatedly shows the difference that even one person’s understanding of God can make. This is because spiritual understanding rises above the angry clouds of fear or hate and – through the divine influence, or Christ, filling our own thought – ameliorates them, even as the sun dissipates the morning mist. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, writes in her book “The People’s Idea of God,” “Few there be who know what a power mind is to heal when imbued with the spiritual truth that lifts man above the demands of matter” (p. 12).

The spiritual perception that comes through prayer is evidence of the Christ at work in our heart, revealing to our waiting spiritual sense what the material senses can’t discern. The seemingly hard reality of hatred, fear, violence, or deprivation loses its solidity and can even fade, in the face of a calm, clear recognition of God’s supremacy and allness, encompassing all of us.

To perceive spiritually the presence and power of divine good, and the reality of man’s being as the very image of good, is to realize that good alone is here and everywhere, and therefore good alone is governing. Such prayer, illumining our thought through the Christ, embraces our world in the consciousness of divine Love’s care, divine Principle’s righteous government, and infinite wisdom’s disposal of events. This is helping our world in the fullest way possible, because it reveals God helping both us and our fellow human beings.

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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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