Mountaintop views

A Christian Science perspective: We are all capable of higher views that bring tangible blessings.

In the Southwestern United States where I live, there are a number of very beautiful and colorful mountains. Part of the joy of climbing one is the moment of victory I feel upon stepping up, finally, to the very top. From there, I like to stop; take a couple of long, deep breaths; and stand for a while to look out onto the wide and distant landscape. This well-earned perspective is, to me, quite glorious, always revealing so much more than I expected.

Sometimes, standing there, taking it all in, I also begin thinking about recent insights and inspiration that have come to me from another “mountaintop view” – the perspective I have gained by listening for God’s guidance, from insights gained through a stirring study of holy Scriptures, or through some modest yet inspired spiritual reasoning. These offer fresh glimpses of the infinite spiritual landscape that makes up God’s nature – the pure goodness and all-presence of divine Spirit.

Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy once observed, “Metaphysics, not physics, enables us to stand erect on sublime heights, surveying the immeasurable universe of Mind, peering into the cause which governs all effects, while we are strong in the unity of God and man” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 369). To me, prayer is like “peering into the cause which governs all effects.” It’s a privilege because it always reveals much more than is expected. It brings a higher understanding of God as infinitely good and of each of us as God’s spiritual creation. And this is a perspective that can bring a heavenly calm even when facing very down-to-earth problems.

Once, when I was on a commercial jet, the wheels wouldn’t deploy correctly for landing. While the crew worked on the gear, we circled the airport over and over. Instead of giving in to tension about this situation, I began to pray. The answer to my prayers came in a clearer view of God’s authority and care for each of us. Along with this divine perspective came a feeling of such pure and profound peace, despite the circumstances. I’ll never forget it.

Finally the landing gear deployed, and we landed normally. There were lines of fire trucks along our runway, yet the passengers were calm and smiled quietly at one another.

Each of us can prayerfully climb God’s sublime heights and see something new about spiritual reality, about our perfect relation to God at each moment. Then we can gaze beyond ourselves, embracing the world in this divine oneness, thereby contributing to healing and resolution in our own lives and beyond.

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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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