A Christian Science perspective: Lift the weight of world sadness.

An individual whose views I respect told me he thought the world was in pretty sad shape. I could understand his perspective – at least in the sense that quite a bit of sadness in the world makes the headlines. In so many arenas around the world where sadness does seem to outweigh everything else, is it naive or simply Pollyannaish to look there for something uplifting?

Christ Jesus wasn’t unacquainted with human suffering. He often encountered it and could still say, even in the face of tribulation, “Be of good cheer” (John 16:33). Shortly before that message, the book of John records a reference Jesus makes to his teachings: “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:11).

In the Bible, one of Jesus’ remarkable healings was raising from the dead a young fellow who was being carried to his grave in Nain. But what Jesus did first may be of major significance. He went to the mother and said, “Weep not” (Luke 7:13). In one sense, this may not seem at all logical. After all, this was perhaps the ultimate tragedy in her life. And she was told to stop crying!

But sometimes there’s a larger picture to consider. Christian Science teaches that the weight of world thought can affect or even define one’s experience. For example, a world filled with such aggressive sadness can promote such emotion in someone’s life – it can, in fact, even be the cause of the unhappy events themselves. For example, the environment of world sadness could have been a contributing factor in that young man’s death. Remember, Jesus first addressed the mother’s weeping. He went after the sadness first, then the death.

There are lots of challenges that we may face – some major, some more modest. Have you ever thought of coming out from under the world’s weight of sadness to be free of a simple headache, feelings of anger, or even of a life-threatening condition? Our own individual problems may seem quite unrelated to the world’s sadness. Nevertheless, there may be times when Jesus’ words, “Weep not,” should also be felt right in our own consciousness. His words can actually lift the effect of world sadness off our own lives today. Christian Science has come to show us how.

It may be helpful first to think of just what Christian Science is. Its Founder, Mary Baker Eddy, who also established this newspaper, saw Christian Science as something far more than serving a small denomination. She considered it to be the divine Science that underlies the teachings of Jesus, the spiritual truth that he repeatedly proved in his healings. Jesus called this truth “the Comforter” (See John 14:26). Truly its message is as vital today as in Jesus’ day, and it can be a life-changing comfort to the suffering and sadness of the world.

In one sense, this message is astonishingly simple. Profound, but not complex. The Comforter teaches that existence is fundamentally spiritual instead of material. And it explains that as we understand this and begin to live in accord with this radically different view, human experience begins to pattern the divine. Discord begins to yield. Harmony begins to prevail. Not to oversimplify, but when people began to understand that the world was not flat, and they began living consistent in accord with this view, a lot changed!

Christ Jesus discerned that right where people saw sin, disease, and death (their flat earth) there was a deeper, spiritual reality of health and wholeness. This is the message – in fact, the blessed revelation – that Christian Science brings to humanity. It explains that right where discord seems the reality, God’s ever-present harmony can replace it, through God’s presence and power coming to light in our thought and transforming it. The Comforter is here to bless everyone, regardless of circumstances – even those brought on by sorrow and sadness.

Yes, Christian Science is fully in accord with John’s vision, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4). For many, those “former things” are beginning to pass away. Just as in Jesus’ day, the weight of world sadness is being lifted in individual lives and specific healings are occurring as the Comforter takes root in human consciousness.

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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.