A Christian Science perspective: A piece of the Berlin Wall and a spiritual inspiration.

Tucked away in a drawer in our living room is a small piece of concrete with some white paint on one side. It’s about the size of an apple slice. If anyone noticed it without knowing where it came from, he or she would just toss it into the wastebasket. But for our family it has a very special significance. It’s a piece of the Berlin Wall. My brother, who was living in Germany at the time, picked it up during the days when the wall was being torn down in 1990.

What gives this chunk of concrete its significance is remembering what it once was: a wall 96 miles long, 12 feet high, 4 feet thick, and protected by barbed wire, sentry soldiers, guard dogs, and highly secure passageways.

Now the wall is gone. The existence of the wall itself and the oppression that built it are history, at least for Germany. The fear, hatred, animosity, and division that once plagued this region have been replaced with greater unity, common values, and respect for fellow countrymen.

For those who lived in that part of the country, as well as for those in other parts of the world, this serves to demonstrate progress and victory over strife and the hope and possibilities that can be brought to current issues today. It goes to show the “Impotence of hate,” which is the marginal heading Christian Science Discoverer Mary Baker Eddy placed next to the following passage in her seminal work, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “Human hate has no legitimate mandate and no kingdom. Love is enthroned” (p. 454).

Every time I hold this piece of concrete in my hand, I am reminded of the power of the divine Love Mrs. Eddy describes above that overcomes seemingly stubborn problems. Christian Science and the Bible teach that God’s love for His children, and for all His creation, is supreme and the only final word on every issue that faces us.

It’s what Christ Jesus came to prove. He wholeheartedly understood God to be infinite, all-embracing Love and demonstrated God’s sovereignty over sickness, sin, fear, animosity, and even violent storms. Jesus’ clear spiritual sense of the reality and power of divine Love overcame hatred and strife. In overcoming these things, Jesus showed that God was not their author and taught his followers that divine Love is supreme.

As we each take steps to put down anger and divisiveness in ourselves, we make strides, even in humble ways, to show man’s true loving nature, which contributes to the lessening of hate. St. Paul described this Christly love for one another as putting on “the new man.” He wrote: “Put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.... Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness” (Colossians 3:8-10, 12-14).

Earnestly striving to do good and put on this “new man” is living prayer that brings harmony into our lives and gives us dominion over hate, both in ourselves and in what may be directed at us. This spiritual understanding enables us to see the inherent spirituality of others, and in this way we can help others discover their innate God-given goodness. 

Even small steps in this direction give us hope for the larger influence that an understanding of divine Love can have. They teach us that we can overcome hatred with the healing influence of divine Love. Because divine Love is infinite, its healing influence reaches the thoughts and hearts of those we don’t even know. Mrs. Eddy writes: “At all times and under all circumstances, overcome evil with good. Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil. Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you. The cement of a higher humanity will unite all interests in the one divinity” (Science and Health, p. 571).

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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.