Experiencing God’s law of order

A Christian Science perspective: How understanding that ‘order is heaven’s first law’ brings harmony.

Summer is often the time when many people hit the road for vacations and special events. As we head out, too, how can we feel assured that we and our fellow travelers will all be safe?

In my study of Christian Science, I have found that prayer, based on a growing understanding of spiritual law, and of God as the source of that law, has enabled me to trust His continuous ability to guide, guard, and govern His creation – including you and me. As St. Paul, a follower of Christ Jesus’ teachings, said, “For in him [God] we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

Alexander Pope, in his “Essay on Man,” wrote that “Order is heaven’s first law.” Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, quotes that passage on page 87 of her work “Retrospection and Introspection,” when she says, “The poet’s line, ‘Order is heaven’s first law,’ is so eternally true, so axiomatic, that it has become a truism; and its wisdom is as obvious in religion and scholarship as in astronomy or mathematics.” Order includes harmony, and God’s order is expressed in harmony that we can experience in our daily lives as we grow in our understanding of God and of our relationship to Him.

Many years ago, I was driving home from work on the freeway when the hood of the car suddenly flew up against the windshield. Immediately, I reached out to God in prayer for guidance. Even though I could no longer see in front of me, I felt a conscious conviction of God’s ever-presence and guidance – I knew that I moved and had my being in God and that He was right there with me. I then noticed a small space at the bottom of the windshield. This enabled me to see just enough to pull safely across the lanes of traffic over to the shoulder of the road.

A driver who had seen what happened pulled up behind me and came over to see if I was all right. As he kindly helped me try to shut the hood of my car, he remarked how amazed he was that I was able to handle the situation with such composure. I felt that my prayer to understand that I was truly one with God, never separate from His care, enabled me to navigate the road calmly and without accident or injury.

Although the hood of the car wouldn’t close, the man continued with his generosity and suggested that he slowly drive ahead of me on the shoulder of the road to the nearest gas station while I drove behind him, peering through that small space the entire way. We were able to safely maneuver to a station not far from where we were, and I was able to call for help to get the car fixed. The whole situation was resolved harmoniously.

I was beginning to see in that experience that because order is heaven’s first law, there could be no accident in God’s kingdom, and because God was there with me, safety and harmony were right where I was, too. To me, the harmonious resolution on the road was an illustration of this statement by Mrs. Eddy: “Accidents are unknown to God, or immortal Mind, and we must leave the mortal basis of belief and unite with the one Mind, in order to change the notion of chance to the proper sense of God’s unerring direction and thus bring out harmony” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 424).

I was so grateful for a glimpse of this understanding, and I continue today to pray to know that God’s law of order is governing every aspect of our experience.

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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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