A television program featured an interview with a couple whose small apartment is right under one of the flight paths of the Tokyo airport. The husband said that even though he has a good job, he couldn’t afford a bigger or quieter apartment for his family. The housing market is tight, he said, and apartments are very expensive.
Even if we think that our prospects of living in a good home are at the mercy of how many units are available or how much money we can spend, there is reason for hope. Improving where we live starts with improving how we think about home. One vital improvement we can make is to consider home in spiritual terms rather than as simply a material structure.
The Bible says, “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations” (Psalms 90:1). In accord with the Bible, Christian Science teaches that man has his real dwelling place in God, Spirit. To a limited, materialistic sense of things it seems we’re physical bodies, living apart from God. But because our creator is omnipresent Spirit, we’re never really separated from Him, and our true nature is totally spiritual.
The consciousness of being created by God and loved by Him, of living in His very presence, helps bring His goodness into view, as Christ Jesus proved so persuasively for us all. He understood his relationship to His Father, and this enabled him to prove God’s total care, to demonstrate that no circumstance could deprive him of all the good that belonged to Him as God’s Son. Though during his ministry Jesus didn’t have the type of stationary home many people long for, he wasn’t separated from the characteristics we think of as belonging to a good home – joy, security, love, and so forth – which all come from the divine source that cannot fail. Jesus said once, “All things that the Father hath are mine” (John 16:15).
We know that we are truly at home, even if appearances deny it, as we are conscious that we can’t be separated from God or from the good that He gives. And when we feel deeply that this is the reality, whatever adjustment needs to take place will come about. Realizing in prayer that man can never be outside God, we’ll discover the harmony and beauty we expect to see in our home. We’ll see tangible evidence of pure affection, fidelity, and joy. Recognizing that man expresses the intelligence of God, of the one Mind, we’ll find the wisdom to handle challenges in regard to our home.
Sometimes when a housing situation feels intolerable, we may need to change the way we think about where we presently live rather than change our location. If we are dissatisfied, restless, ungrateful, angry, it’s easy to see that our home won’t be a very pleasant place to be, regardless of its location or size. On the other hand, the expression of spiritual qualities such as wisdom, love, and purity can transform a living space into a home, no matter how big or small the space is. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, writes, referring to Jesus: “To the students whom he had chosen, his immortal teaching was the bread of Life. When he was with them, a fishing-boat became a sanctuary, and the solitude was peopled with holy messages from the All-Father” (“Retrospection and Introspection,” p. 91).
Different people require different solutions to their housing needs. An understanding of the spiritual facts – the allness of God and our identity as His children, inseparable from His care – can restore harmony to our affairs, whatever the need may be. Our increasing understanding of our spiritual home may bring about changes in the place we live or lead us to a new location. Or it may just change our attitude about the place we have. No matter what needs adjusting, the consciousness of our true home in God will make more apparent the better place we’re looking for.
Reprinted from the Jan. 5, 1988, issue of The Christian Science Monitor.