A Christian Science perspective: What it means to have “angels charge over thee.”

It was a big day. I had an important meeting over breakfast, along with many other meetings throughout the day, and so I took extra time early in the morning to prepare myself prayerfully, as I had been taught to do in my study of Christian Science.

One of my favorite passages to pray with is Psalm 91 in the Bible. No matter how many times I read it, that beautiful psalm remains fresh, applicable, and powerful. It states so beautifully the allness of God and the unbreakable, irreversible, protecting connection between God and His idea, man. It calls to thought Genesis 1, in which we learn that God made man in His image and likeness, a healing truth that is echoed throughout the Scriptures.

That morning, I found special inspiration in the following verses: “Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways” (Psalms 91:9-11).

I reasoned that because God loved me – and everyone – we were all included in that safe refuge, a place of shelter or protection from danger or trouble. And “evil” applied to anything challenging, frightening, or erroneous – large or small. This psalm reminds us of our perpetual refuge from evil of any kind, our safety as we turn to God for guidance and protection.

The last verse is the one that most resonated with me: “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” I just loved that. God’s angels were in charge of me. They were taking charge of me – of every aspect of my day and life. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science and the founder of The Christian Science Monitor, gives this definition of angels in her primary work, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “God’s thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality” (p. 581).

So the angels that had charge of me were “God’s thoughts”; they were “spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect….” Those angels were inspiring me with “goodness, purity, and immortality” and the very nature of those angels was to counteract all evil. Hence the promise of the psalm: “There shall no evil befall thee.…”

Rejoicing with these healing thoughts uppermost in my consciousness, I got ready for the day and headed to work.

You can imagine my chagrin when, five minutes into my important breakfast meeting, I suddenly felt nauseated and lost my appetite. It was not only uncomfortable, but also distracting – I very much wanted to be fully present for this meeting and be a good listener and contributor. So, as I always do, I turned to God in prayer. Immediately an angel message came – a thought from God – that reminded me of my prayer that morning: “God’s angels have charge over me. His angels are in charge of me.” I recognized the healing truth in those simple statements that God’s thoughts are my protection. Because God is harmonious and I am God’s image, or reflection, I, too, could be only harmonious, and God’s angels were right there telling me that. I affirmed this truth in my thought. I thanked God for being in charge of me, my health, and my day; I thanked God for being in charge of this meeting and its outcome; I thanked God for showing me such love and tenderness by sending the perfect thoughts to inspire and strengthen me.

I continued with the meeting, all the while thanking God for His angels and affirming that they had total charge over me – a charge that was fully good! After maybe 20 or 30 minutes of praying this way, all nausea passed and I felt focused and entirely free. I was healed. I was able to eat my breakfast, instead of just pushing food around on my plate, and the meeting ended up being very successful.

Best of all, though, was the ringing message in my ears that God’s angels did, in fact, have charge of me! And what a glorious provision of goodness and strength. It’s a lesson that continues to sustain and inspire me each day.

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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.”

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