Finding family everywhere

Whatever our family situation may be, God’s mothering and fathering love is here for us to feel and express toward others without measure.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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We walked into the lobby of our hotel to have breakfast, and there were lots of young children and adults in colorful traditional African attire.

While we were standing in the buffet line, my husband and I began chatting with several of the women and learned they were a choir visiting from Uganda. They were performing in various locations in the United States. All the children had been orphaned, and the choir’s sponsor organization had provided them a home, education, and opportunities like this to sing and perform. Evidently the group stayed with host families during their travels. So there were a variety of ways these children were experiencing family, both in their home country and abroad.

Most of the tables filled up fast. One girl looking around for somewhere to sit noticed the empty chairs at the table where my husband and I were eating. Without hesitating she came right over to sit with us. We smiled at each other, and even though we spoke different languages, to me it felt like family sitting at the table together.

This feeling of family, right there in that busy hotel, made me think of the most expansive view of family the world has been given: a family revealed by the teachings and healings of Christ Jesus. He showed the nature of God to be universal divine Love, with every single individual fully loved by God and wholly included as members of God’s family.

Jesus conveyed this so succinctly through the first two words of the Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father.” This communicates that we’re all children of one God, or causative Principle, our loving divine Parent. It emphasizes the fathering love of God – strong, protecting, and always providing. But there are many ways the Bible conveys God’s mothering, nurturing, and tender care as well. For instance, Jesus once likened the love and care God expressed through him to a mother hen gathering “her brood under her wings” (Luke 13:34).

And this is what Christian Science brings into focus so beautifully. It teaches that the mothering and fathering nature of God harmoniously expresses the fullness of God’s love, and that as children of God, we’re made to fully express that love because we’re created in God’s likeness.

Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Christian Science movement, wrote, “Spirit duly feeds and clothes every object, as it appears in the line of spiritual creation, thus tenderly expressing the fatherhood and motherhood of God” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 507). 

This hints at there really being no limit to the number of ways in which the fathering and mothering care of God, divine Love, can be made evident in our lives each day as we open our hearts to it. And even more, we are all actually inseparable from our divine Parent. We’re the cherished and loved spiritual expressions of God’s own being.

Jesus understood and demonstrated this so fully that he even healed those who were acting as enemies toward him. From him we learn that the “enemy” isn’t actually other people; it’s whatever doesn’t express God – whatever isn’t loving and good. Jesus revealed the Christ, or unity of divine Love with its true, spiritual expression, as embracing one and all, healing grief, inharmony, and discord.

As we welcome and express this Christly love, honoring everyone’s unbreakable relation to God, good, then we find opportunities to cherish our spiritual family everywhere.

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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.