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.