Sisters and brothers in Christ
A Christian Science perspective: God is our Father-Mother.
There’s a great need in the world for more genuine, unselfish affection, consideration, and care for others. Could it be that affection among people grows stronger and more lasting when we recognize that we all belong to God? Feeling close to God makes us think of others as sisters and brothers. This is a brotherhood and sisterhood that transcends blood relations, race, age, or nationality.
You may have heard someone called a “sister in Christ” or a “brother in Christ.” These two terms could be loosely translated as “fellow believer,” but the words have meaning beyond that. A sister or brother in Christ is who we are as God’s offspring. Christ Jesus spoke of God as “my Father” and “our Father,” because we share one divine Parent.
To be “in Christ” describes the joy of sonship with God that Christ Jesus possessed and expressed every day in his contact with people. His love for both friend and foe sends a message to us: that we can love others because we are the children of divine Love, God. As the son of God, the Savior was more conscious than anyone else of the relationship of God and man as creator and creation, or divine Mind and divine idea.
Understanding that we are sisters and brothers in Christ, we see each other as Mind creates us and maintains us – the spiritual expression of God’s being. That puts the daily rubbing of shoulders with people in a new light. Looks, behavior, and other outward appearances fade in importance as we learn that we all belong to the family of God.
The unbreakable spiritual relationship of man to God accounts for our kinship with each other. Christian Science explains that conflict between people is linked to the conviction that man is a mortal, often with more reasons to fight than to love. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, describes the true, Christly man in contrast with the opposite, mortal man: “Immortals, or God’s children in divine Science, are one harmonious family; but mortals, or the ‘children of men’ in material sense, are discordant and ofttimes false brethren” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 444).
The Apostle Paul frequently urged fellow Christians to overcome their divisions by seeing that the mortal material identity of someone was not the new man in Christ. He wrote to the church at Corinth: “By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.... Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular” (I Corinthians 12:13, 27). Our real selfhood as God’s expression is found in the eternal Christ. We are baptized into Christ through ongoing spiritual regeneration, which brings to light increasingly our pure, Christlike individuality.
The understanding of who we are as sisters and brothers in Christ can be put into practice with family, friends, and strangers. Human relations frequently need mending. Too little love tears at family harmony. And haven’t we all known times of loneliness or alienation? Disappointments or personality clashes can make us reach out to God in prayer, to seek an understanding of our individual wholeness and the collective unity that is in Christ. If we believe we are outnumbered and outgunned by family discord, sickness, even world conditions, our heartfelt recognition of everyone’s unity as children of God can make all the difference. Christ always lifts our thought to our true loving nature and enables us to demonstrate it in gratitude, purity, compassion, patience, intelligence, and joy. Then we can see better that troubles are not as fixed as they seem. Christ, Truth, shining in human consciousness, brings healing, showing the health, harmony, and peace that are permanent spiritual qualities belonging to man as the likeness of divine Soul, God.
The special moments of feeling close ties with each other steadily become more constant as we yield to divine Love’s embrace of all people. Faith deepens with fellowship and our love results in healing.