Everyday holiness can elevate human life

Today’s column explores how expressing goodness, grace, and kindness can bless others and bring the fruits of holy inspiration into human life.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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I had an experience in a county courthouse recently when I needed to get copies of legal papers for a family member. After a sleepless night, I was struggling with fatigue when I entered the building. With some difficulty, I found my way up to the correct office on the fourth floor, where I was met by a man sitting behind a desk in an unattractive room with fluorescent lights. It’s safe to say that nothing about my surroundings inspired me.

But then this dear man smiled at me very warmly. And when I told him what I needed, he proceeded to go out of his way to locate my file, carefully help me identify the pages that needed to be copied, escort me down to the copy and cashier area on the first floor, and then joke with his fellow employees while he waited to be sure my paperwork was properly notarized. I thanked him profusely, and then bounded down the courthouse steps that I had plodded up just thirty minutes earlier. I now felt full of vigor.

It seemed like a special experience in the most unlikely of settings. I regularly study the Bible, and I attend church on Sundays. I cherish the special inspiration and closeness to God these bring me. But there’s something breathtaking to me about moments that sneak up on ordinary days when such tenderness, kindness, grace, or goodness is expressed that an everyday experience becomes inspired and feels holy, even healing.

Christian Science has taught me that the expression of kindness and goodness comes from an inherent spirituality that is ours because the true nature of each one of us is, in fact, Christly, even if that spiritual goodness may sometimes seem covered in dust and hard to discern. In the Bible, we can read about how Christ Jesus lived this true nature so compellingly and with such clarity as he went about his daily walk, that it consistently healed people. On one occasion, the book of Luke says, “The whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all” (6:19). And on another occasion, a woman who had been hemorrhaging for 12 years came up to Jesus and touched the edge of the robe he was wearing and was instantaneously restored to health. According to the book of Mark, Jesus knew “that virtue had gone out of him” when this occurred (see 5:25-34). It was the Christliness, spirituality, and purity he lived that healed, in the same way that light excludes darkness without effort just by being light.

Another Bible story relates a wedding where Christ Jesus turned water into wine. Christian Science discoverer Mary Baker Eddy briefly expounds on this incident, and what it signified spiritually, in the Christian Science textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” She writes, “May Christ, Truth, be present at every bridal altar to turn the water into wine and to give to human life an inspiration by which man’s spiritual and eternal existence may be discerned” (p. 65). As I’ve thought about these words, they’ve often inspired my prayer that Christ, Truth, be present in every detail of our lives, bringing the inspiration that enables us to discern the spiritual and eternal existence in everyone and everything we encounter in our day.

Every experience and situation we find ourselves in can be uplifted – can even be seen as an opportunity for healing – when our thought is imbued with spiritual inspiration. Being consciously committed to expressing God in our everyday lives – through Christly kindness, solicitude, wisdom, love, and joy, no matter what our circumstances – brings holiness and healing to those in our experience. Such is the natural outcome of inspired living.

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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.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.