The woman was standing right there, yelling at us, becoming louder and angrier.
As mayor of my city, I – along with the city council – was the point of contact for those who had any grievance with the city or its services. While campaigning to be elected, I had spoken of the need to bring more “service” back into the term “public service.”
As contentious as this particular situation had become, I could see this was an opportunity to put that desire into action and serve this constituent. So I did something I’ve found helpful before – I turned to God and silently prayed. My prayer went something like this and included an affirmation of what I had learned about the nature of God’s all-power through my study of Christian Science: “Father, tell me what to do. Help me know what to say. You are all-intelligence, all-power, all-loving, governing all.”
Then these words came out of my mouth: “You are obviously very passionate about this issue. Please describe the problem. We want to do everything possible to help you.” The woman paused, breathed deeply, began to weep, and calmly laid out her issue. What a change from the moments before. After the meeting, we continued to talk, and the council and I found we were able to help.
With God’s direction, I knew just what to say in the heat of that moment – and the right way to say it. Before I prayed, I wasn’t seeing how I could do that. This offering of healing prayer was an added dimension of service I was so grateful to be able to bring to my community.
I’ve often thought about something Christian healer Mary Baker Eddy wrote: “It is sad that the phrase divine service has come so generally to mean public worship instead of daily deeds” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 40). Christ Jesus went about the hillsides doing good as he taught about God’s infinite love for all of us as His children, the spiritual creations of divine Love.
Do we go about our days doing good? Are we seeking to serve others? As I strive to follow Jesus’ example, I try to keep my thought in line with God by pausing for moments of prayer. No matter what we face, God’s guidance is always available. As we listen to it and follow through, we find that letting divine Love inspire our efforts to do good for others becomes a blessing for us as well. That’s how divine service works.
This article was adapted from the June 12, 2017, Christian Science Daily Lift podcast.