Chasing grumpy clouds away

When a family outing became plagued with irritability and frustration, a church service brought much-needed spiritual refreshment, enabling the family to see how God’s harmony dispels the “clouds” that would obscure our God-given joy and patience.

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You might think that after months of anticipating our family trip to the beach we would be thrilled to be there together. But no. Just a couple of days of fun in the sun had left my husband, our 8-year-old daughter, and me pretty exhausted and irritable.

When I had had about enough of the situation, I announced – much to my husband’s and daughter’s dismay – that we would be going to church that evening. It was Wednesday, so there was a service at the local branch Church of Christ, Scientist.

You should have seen their faces. You would have thought I was dishing out a terrible punishment as they changed from swimsuits into street clothes. And honestly, maybe I had been thinking “So there! This will straighten everyone up!” Little did I realize just how much good we were all going to get out of the visit.

For both my husband and my daughter, it was their first time attending one of these Wednesday evening meetings. Each service includes passages from the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, on a topical theme. There is also singing, time for quiet prayer, and sharing of personal testimonies of inspiration and healings stemming from the study and practice of Christian Science.

I will never forget what happened to us during that service. I began to feel peaceful and relaxed. Our restless daughter quieted. The frown wrinkles on my husband’s face ironed out smoothly.

After the service, our girl skipped happily to the car, and my husband said, “Thanks. I feel better.” And what followed was one of our happiest family trips ever.

What had happened? I don’t suppose that the physical act of going into a church caused this shift. But taking a break to engage with God’s law of harmony certainly did produce a healing change.

Science and Health gives a simple definition of Christian Science as “the natural law of harmony which overcomes discord” (p. 134). So simple and direct. The complete sentence reads, “The true Logos is demonstrably Christian Science, the natural law of harmony which overcomes discord, – not because this Science is supernatural or preternatural, nor because it is an infraction of divine law, but because it is the immutable law of God, good.”

“Logos,” as a Bible concept, refers to the Word of God, which is seen in God’s law of good, of harmony, always in operation. This divine power isn’t a supernatural presence that comes and goes. It enables us to understand the pure, natural good in everyone as God’s creation – an understanding of true, spiritual identity that is present, accessible, and intrinsic to all life.

Any glimpse of the fundamental truth of God’s all-goodness is an encounter with the healing Christ, the divine nature Jesus expressed, showing us what we are – the spiritual good that we are made of. Christ brings the law of harmony to bear in the minutiae of our lives. This transformative coming of the Christ is what Jesus spoke of when he said, “Ye, therefore, now, indeed, have sorrow; and again I will see you, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no one doth take from you” (John 16:22, Young’s Literal Translation). Yielding time and attention to the Christ, we welcome a joy that doesn’t fade in our experience; it illumines it.

Science and Health explains, “Whatever inspires with wisdom, Truth, or Love – be it song, sermon, or Science – blesses the human family with crumbs of comfort from Christ’s table, feeding the hungry and giving living waters to the thirsty” (p. 234). For our family that night, much-needed spiritual refreshment – the opportunity to engage with the unalterable, ageless, healing law of God, or divine good – was found at church.

Each of us, whether we’re at church or elsewhere, can let Christ lift clouds of irritation, frustration, and whatever else would hide our God-given sense of joy. This helps not just us but those around us too. And who wouldn’t want that on a family beach trip – or anywhere?

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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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