‘We are not afraid’

A Christian Science perspective: Prayers for London.

I was moved the other day to see a picture circulating on social media of a familiar London Underground sign with the following words inserted: “We are not afraid!”

This represented London’s response to the most recent terror incident. I saw it as a widespread refusal on the part of Londoners to respond to the intimidation of this violence with fear.

Fear, of course, seems like a logical response to such an awful incident. But refusing to be afraid is key when thought is the target terrorist attacks are primarily aiming at. If the devastation is all about causing collateral damage to the global consciousness – through the megaphone of the media and by inciting political arguments that capitalize on our fears – then taking a mental stand for fearlessness is truly defending the front line so that terror, and exploitation of it, fall on deaf ears.

I found the courage to do that growing up as a Londoner when the Northern Ireland “Troubles” spilled over to the capital. I was afraid at first, but finding a spiritual pathway forward enabled me to challenge that fear.

This spiritual path included learning to lean on spiritual assurances, including the following from the Bible: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalms 46:1). In facing sickness, lack, relationship difficulties, and other problems, I’ve found this to be true; I could trust the infinitely vast, yet intimately felt, divine presence to be a very practical “help in trouble.” And I found the solutions that emerged often started with seeing a divine reason for not being fearful, such as the spiritual fact that we’re actually held in oneness with this infinite, divine Love, which itself knows no fear.

In sensing something of our oneness with fearless Love we begin to see how not being afraid is actually natural to our being. So if the fight against terror is ultimately winning the war for what rules our thoughts, then this message of what we truly are also needs a global megaphone. And it has one – there is a “divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness” (Mary Baker Eddy, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 332), and what it is conveying to us includes this truth of our fearlessness.

This “divine message” is one of the ways in which the teachings of Christian Science – discovered by Mary Baker Eddy – were guiding my spiritual awakening. This message describes the Christ, the divine idea whose impact was seen so vividly in the life and healings of Jesus. The Christ is universally present, communicating to all of us our inherent ability to express God’s fear-free love.

We can pray to open our hearts and become more aware of this Christ message and increasingly understand fearlessness to be our own and everyone’s divinely natural, spiritual consciousness. In doing so, we can come to expect more of this inherent fearlessness to emerge in response to terror’s attempts to make us afraid. This spiritual alertness is something we can all contribute to the fight against terror as an active way for bringing Love’s healing power into the arena of human thought to arrest threats of danger.

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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.