Angels that keep us safe

Today’s contributor shares how a new way of thinking about angels has brought her comfort and calm even during troubling situations.

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For many years, traveling between countries was a big part of my life; I live on the North American mainland and my parents lived in the Caribbean, so I traveled frequently to visit them. When I was a new student of Christian Science, a member of the church I’d begun attending took an interest in my travels and often engaged me in conversations about them. At one point she lovingly asked me if preparations for my trips included prayers for safety. When I said they did not, she reminded me of the many examples in the Bible of people who relied successfully on God to keep them safe.

Deeply moved by this woman’s love and care for my welfare, I began to study some Bible stories with safety in mind. In particular, the story of Moses stood out. The great Hebrew leader defied a pharaoh’s powerful army by leading the people who had been enslaved in Egypt to freedom. He did this by relying entirely on God’s guidance and protecting care.

I especially loved this verse from later in the story, when the group was making its way through the wilderness: “Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared” (Exodus 23:20). This message must have reassured Moses and conveyed the idea that God’s loving presence was a wise and intelligent force for good that he could rely on to help the Israelites on their journey.

This got me thinking about the idea of angels and soon I found an enlightening definition of angels in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy. It reads: “God’s thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality” (p. 581).

For me, this radically different concept of angels was meaningful and practical. Christian Science explains that another name for God is Mind, and this divine Mind provides each one of us with inspiration that protects and heals us. When we are open to this inspiration, we are welcoming angel thoughts that guide and protect us; so I made the commitment to regularly listen for the spiritual intuitions God was imparting.

I had learned in the Bible that we are the image and likeness of God, who is divine Spirit, so I reasoned that we all have an equal ability to hear God’s thoughts. And I found that listening actively for those angels from God throughout my day enabled me to enjoy more of the peace and harmony that God’s loving presence brings.

One time I was visiting my parents in their home, which was located in a relatively undeveloped section of the community. Because of problems with burglary in the community, they had installed an alarm system. The system was designed to be triggered if there was any significant movement within two feet of the house. Occasionally a small animal would trigger the alarm, but one night it was being repeatedly triggered, which was very unusual. We understood that this was a technique sometimes used to lure people to come out of the house.

This was frightening, and we began to pray. My prayers acknowledged that inspiration from God was coming to each of us, bringing comfort and calm, and was even bringing to any potential intruder the desire to do what’s right. God’s, divine Love’s, influence is present for, and embracing, everyone; therefore we were all safe in Love’s care. Any invasion of our sense of peace or good is not from God, and therefore has no legitimate basis or power. These ideas helped us feel secure and cared for that night, even before the triggers finally stopped. We thanked God, and after that night there were no further incidents of that sort.

While we don’t actually know that the alarms represented real danger that night, the experience taught me that actively acknowledging God as ever-present good calms our thoughts and enables us to feel the assurance of God’s presence and help (see, for instance, Isaiah 41:10) – and that this can result in safety. This inspiration operates like a spiritual law of peace and harmony in consciousness, and we can listen for and experience it even in frightening or uncertain situations.

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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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