No fear can stop humanity’s brotherhood and sisterhood

The Bible describes what removes fear: “perfect Love” (see I John 4:18). When we understand this divine Love – and our unity with Love, God – we’re able to rise above the heightened fear that surfaces during a time of contagion.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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I love to pray for the world, and I know I’m joined by brothers and sisters worldwide in these prayers at this time. The beauty of coming together in the face of something evil resonates deep within for many people.

So while we honor measures in place to physically distance ourselves from others when fears of contagion are running rampant, there’s a deeper unity that can never be lost. In the Lord’s Prayer, Christ Jesus instructed us to begin with a fundamental acceptance of our unity in God: “Our Father ...”

What a natural, normal, and healing implication of our spiritual origin as given in the opening chapter of the Bible, which says that man (meaning everyone, men and women) is made in God’s image and is seen by God as “very good” (Genesis 1:26, 31). The fears surrounding a harmful contagion, then, can never actually divide the forever established and harmonious spiritual family of man, under one Father-Mother, who is Love itself.

The writings of Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, bring out the great practicality of Jesus’ teachings, including the spiritual nature of true brotherhood and sisterhood that he proved. Her primary work, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” says, “With one Father, even God, the whole family of man would be brethren; and with one Mind and that God, or good, the brotherhood of man would consist of Love and Truth, and have unity of Principle and spiritual power which constitute divine Science” (pp. 469–470).

This spiritual brotherhood doesn’t require our physical proximity to be felt. A couple of years ago, I was praying for a friend who had contracted chickenpox. He had been put in quarantine at his college per state health board requirements, and was calling for Christian Science treatment. I got his call almost immediately after getting off a plane from a long weekend trip I’d been on. I almost didn’t answer the phone because I was feeling pretty beat. But a thought came very strongly that I should answer this call – that I had to be unselfish and be there for this brother in his moment of need.

Upon accepting my friend’s request that I pray for him, I shared a few ideas from the Bible and from the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, and began praying. I was initially tempted to feel that this illness was too big, too serious: Could prayer really help?

On the heels of that thought, however, I felt what I might describe as a wall of Love – another name for God – holding me up and reminding me of God’s love for this young man and me, and of my love for both God and my fellow man. In Bible language, this “perfect Love [cast] out fear” (I John 4:18), and I felt nothing but a deep sense of confidence in Love’s, God’s, power to keep this individual – and his whole college community – safe.

It was fitting that Love was so clearly the power I felt at work here; this particular illness often seems to inspire such fear of each other due to beliefs about contagion. This promise of the power of Love truly cast out those fears in my own thought.

I prayed with my friend every day, and we stayed in touch throughout the week. Every day we chatted, he told me he was feeling stronger and more like himself; lovely progress was being made. A Christian Science nurse who was on duty with him in his quarantine let me know that he had ceased to have any new chickenpox spots from the day he checked in, which was the first day he had been in touch with me.

He was released from quarantine soon thereafter (following state health requirements of when it was deemed safe for him to rejoin the community), and went on to enjoy a successful college semester.

How wonderful it was to feel the power of Love impelling this whole healing, calming all the fears surrounding the case. Worshiping one God, who is Love – not being overcome with fear – allows us to feel that inherent unity, the brother- and sisterhood of us all, wherein there is only Spirit’s precious creation.

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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.