One Sunday, I was crossing the border from the United States into Canada to attend church near my home. As I approached the border that day, July 1, I noticed something wonderful on the other side. To my surprise, Canadian flags were swirling just above every doorstep and lining newly decorated streets.
At the border crossing, I asked the guard why there were so many flags flying. He leaned down and chuckled, “It’s Dominion Day, don’t you know that?”
Dominion Day! What a concept. On July 1, 1867, Canada became a self-governing territory (dominion) of Britain, thus the name Dominion Day (in 1982 the name was changed to Canada Day).
This simple idea of “dominion” really touched my thought. Through my study of Christian Science, I had learned that in the spiritual record of creation (see Genesis 1), God, our creator and governor, gave man dominion. As we come to better understand the nature of God as good, and of ourselves as governed by God, our inherent ability to think and act rightly – with purity and integrity – is nurtured. This freedom is our right as God’s spiritual creation.
As a middle-schooler, like any one of us, I wanted to have friends. But any good qualities I had to share were overshadowed by a deep desire to be popular. This desire began to bring out cravings for acceptance and attention from others, which included smoking and drinking as a means for acceptance. These behaviors eventually became addictions that defined my social behavior into adulthood.
When our actions are determined by a desire for acceptance, we lose sight of our spiritual dominion and freedom. The addictive behavior lasted until I discovered how to exercise my dominion spiritually, inspired by a growing awareness of God’s abundant presence and love. Instead of enabling these addictions and indulging in personal gratification, I learned to stand up for my purity with spiritual clarity. I was willing to let go of relationships that conjoined smoking and drinking with friendship, and I made new friends who appreciated my spiritual qualities. I established each day as God-centered.
This lifestyle change restored genuine balance to my life and continues to establish a beautiful foundation for true freedom. The Monitor’s founder, Mary Baker Eddy, writes: “The spiritual sense of Life and its grand pursuits is of itself a bliss, health-giving and joy-inspiring. This sense of Life illumes our pathway with the radiance of divine Love; heals man spontaneously, morally and physically, – exhaling the aroma of Jesus’ own words, ‘Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’ ” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-3896,” pp. 19-20).
We all have a natural ability to grow spiritually and become more grounded in our trust in God, good. As we do, we’ll see more and more that God, divine Love, truly has given us dominion, our God-given authority, over whatever would try to shut out the goodness, purity, and freedom that belong to us as God’s children.
This article was adapted from an article in the July 3, 2017, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.