The first refugee Olympic team, the topic of this week’s cover story, is an inspiration for stateless people everywhere. It has reminded me of my own earnest prayers about belonging. I remember one morning, when I stood by a lake in the Russian countryside far from home, I prayed to feel a sense of God’s presence with me there. My prayer was answered with this idea: “The kingdom of heaven has no borders.”
In that moment, I realized that I was not separated from God’s care or sense of home. My study of Christian Science had shown me that the kingdom of heaven is not a physical location, but God’s infinite and permanent rule of harmony, which can be experienced wherever we are. I saw that everyone has the ability to experience God’s goodness, love, and supply, here and now.
This realization was based on something Christ Jesus said: “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20, 21). He explained that the kingdom of heaven is the reign of harmony inherent to us as God’s beloved children. This means that God’s provision of good for us does not depend on national boundaries or ethnic identities. The kingdom of heaven is home to us all – to all the athletes and to each one of us – even those who may be far from their homes or countries of birth. This understanding enabled Jesus to bring comfort and healing to those throughout the many regions he traveled.
A follower of Christ Jesus’ teachings, Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science and founder of this publication, once told the staff in her household: “Home is not a place, but a power. We find home when we arrive at the full understanding of God” (Irving Tomlinson, “Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy,” Amplified Edition, p. 211).
The power Mrs. Eddy refers to is the power of divine Love, expressed in strength, endurance, flexibility, and brotherly love. Since these qualities come from God, they are innate to all of us. Therefore every person has the capacity to express them – including our Olympic refugees.
With this understanding of the kingdom of heaven as our true home and God as our true source of supply, we are empowered with a sense of peace and strength, even a sense of belonging. This is what I felt that morning by the lake. I gained an enlarged understanding of what God is and what my relationship is to Him. I felt at home with God, and realized that this closeness to Him was something I carry with me all the time. I didn’t need to be in a particular location to feel it or to express God. This experience has never left me, and it continues to inspire my prayers for the world.
Understanding the kingdom of heaven to be our true homeland gives us the freedom and power to express the joy, dominion, and love to succeed in every endeavor.