A Christian Science perspective: Ideas on redemption and healing.

There are many situations in the world in which it feels as if it’s too late to right the wrongs. A recent story about children deprived of schooling in war-torn countries projected a future adult population without the skills to prosper and lead. Another example is prisoners released decades after serving time without job training or community ties to support them. The list of “too lates” goes on.

But as a world family we should never accept that it’s too late. Many express this sentiment, including American composer Pete Seeger in his song “Turn, Turn, Turn.” This lyric is one of only two phrases he added to a poetic description of the ups and downs of life found in the Bible’s book of Ecclesiastes. To me, the plea to turn means to turn from accepting the inevitability of evil to making active efforts to bring restoration and healing. The other phrase he added is the wonderful finale: “a time for peace, I swear it’s not too late.”

Individuals around the world are helping others to prove that it’s never too late for them to turn their lives around. The Monitor regularly reports on people who create schools for children and adults in need, teach job skills to prisoners, restore barren land, and protect disappearing species. What compels these efforts of restoration is a deeply spiritual and universal power that many recognize as God, divine Love.

Acknowledging this fundamental power impels me to turn from any feelings of doom to a spiritually grounded confidence that God has infinite capacity to restore opportunity that appears to be lost. This isn't turning away from the world’s problems to some abstract spiritual comfort. It’s a call to wake up to what God created us as – the definitive expressions of intelligence, compassion, and truthfulness that consitute everyone’s genuine character, and to bring it out in our lives.

A psalm speaks of God who “will not leave my soul in hell” (Psalms 16:10, American King James Version). A common religious thought is that hell is a place from which it can be eternally “too late” to escape. But this psalm presents the opposite thought. It reassures us that there isn’t such a place of no return for anyone. God’s redemption is for everyone.

Rather than it ever being “too late” to avert certain evils, Christian Science Founder Mary Baker Eddy pointed to the capacity of divine goodness to resist evil. She wrote: “This is the doctrine of Christian Science: that divine Love cannot be deprived of its manifestation, or object; that joy cannot be turned into sorrow, for sorrow is not the master of joy; that good can never produce evil; that matter can never produce mind nor life result in death. The perfect man – governed by God, his perfect Principle – is sinless and eternal” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 304).

No one in this awesome universe is a merely material being that can be permanently ruined. Each one is an idea of divine Spirit. Prayer that turns to this spiritual view helps others feel their worth. We can all live this prayer in some way by encouraging people we encounter, and in the way we read and respond to the news. Everyone has the right to be restored to their divinely natural harmony, health, and peace.

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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.