In recent years, the Friday after Thanksgiving – the biggest shopping day of the year in the United States, commonly called Black Friday – has increasingly encroached upon the national day of giving thanks. However, there is a small but growing movement under way to redeem the spirit of Black Friday and refocus this time of year on the sharing of blessings. On Nov. 24, people around the world are encouraged to do random acts of kindness and share them on social media with the hashtag #RAKFriday17.
Lately, it seems as though kindness and courtesy have taken a back seat to vitriol, snarky tweets, and a wariness of both strangers and friends who hold differing views. So much so that when someone does something kind these days, I find myself surprised and comforted.
Yet there’s something so natural about such displays of goodness. In the book of John in the Bible, the disciples of Christ Jesus are surprised one day when during a time of great personal struggle, Jesus rises, takes a basin of water and a towel, and washes his students’ feet (see 13:1-17). The disciple Peter is so shocked by this act by his revered and respected teacher that he says to Jesus, “You will never wash my feet” (New Revised Standard Version).
But Jesus explains that this act is meant to be an example of how they should be treating others: “I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” With this act of gracious selflessness, Jesus teaches us the importance of caring for each other with humble expressions of love.
It’s not just about one human being doing something nice for another. Jesus’ gesture was an example of the infinite love that God, who is all good, endows each of us with every day. No one is left outside this universal and impartial love of our Father-Mother God. And it’s in everyone’s nature to not only feel but to express God’s infinite goodness, because divine Love, God, created us as its spiritual reflection.
So when actions are divinely inspired, they have the healing power of infinite Love behind them. The founder of this paper, Mary Baker Eddy, writes: “Goodness never fails to receive its reward, for goodness makes life a blessing. As an active portion of one stupendous whole, goodness identifies man with universal good” (“The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,” p. 165).
Sometimes it seems as if there is no solution to all of the strife in this world. But even one simple demonstration of the divine goodness that reaches everywhere and everyone – one expression of genuine spiritual love – enables us to realize the stupendous good that is there for everyone to see, feel, and live.