‘Mark’ the man and woman of God’s creating

From a material perspective, nobody’s perfect. But recognizing that God created everyone as spiritual, whole, and pure empowers us to experience – and help others experience – a higher standard of health and harmony.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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When my children were in elementary school, they played soccer through a local sports program. Before each game, the coach would assign each child a player on the opposing team to “mark.” That meant to focus on and stay right with the player at all times, rather than meandering around the field of play. Sometimes the coach would even say, “Mark that player so closely you feel like you’re in their shirt! Stay right with them.”

The importance of this was not lost on the young athletes, and the better they each marked their player, the better the game went for them.

I think of this sometimes when I read in the Bible, “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace” (Psalms 37:37). Practically speaking, who is “the perfect man” we are to “mark”? How do we do that? And why should we?

Well, it is clear there is no perfect human being, so the “perfect man” must be a higher, more spiritual concept of man than we experience with our material senses. In fact, the teachings of Christian Science help us see that the “perfect man” is the spiritual man (meaning all of us) of God’s creating, made in the image of divine Spirit.

The textbook of Christian Science explains: “The Scriptures inform us that man is made in the image and likeness of God. Matter is not that likeness. The likeness of Spirit cannot be so unlike Spirit.... Man is idea, the image, of Love; he is not physique. He is the compound idea of God, including all right ideas;...” (Mary Baker Eddy, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 475).

It is this spiritual understanding of everyone’s true nature as God’s child that we are to “mark,” to look to continually. We do this by keeping the correct spiritual concept of man foremost in our thoughts.

This doesn’t mean putting our heads in the sand when we or someone we encounter is not well or acting wrongly. Rather, we can silently affirm that everyone’s true nature is one of harmony, health, and integrity, because God, Spirit, is all good. Understanding this enables us to overcome illness or bad character traits, and to help others do the same.

And the endgame is peace, as the Psalmist assures us. How empowering to know we can feel and express greater peace in our lives by keeping the man of God’s creating securely in thought.

Jesus Christ healed by constantly acknowledging as legitimate only the perfect, upright man of God’s creating, the flawless idea of divine Spirit. Once as he was leaving a city called Jericho, a blind man called out to him. Jesus asked him what he would like him to do for him. When the fellow responded that he wanted to receive his sight, Jesus assured him that his faith had made him whole. Indeed, the man was instantly well (see Mark 10:46-52).

As we practice marking the perfect man, we too can witness healing. For example, recently our son was in touch to say their 4-year-old had accidentally hammered his own thumb with a rock while playing outside. Now the little boy was getting ready for bed, and he was in pain and crying, and couldn’t settle down. Our son asked if I would pray, and of course I was happy to do so.

Immediately I started to “mark the perfect man” – to mentally affirm that this sweet boy was the child of God, therefore always safe and well in God’s care, and never susceptible to accidents or harm of any kind. God bestows only good on His children, so nothing jarring or painful can touch one’s peace and joy in any way. Everyone, including this little boy, has a God-given right and ability to be free from injury and pain.

In a short time, our daughter-in-law texted to say the child had stopped crying and settled down, and was sleeping peacefully. The little boy never mentioned his thumb again and had a happy, regular day the next day.

Marking the perfect man, keeping the high ideal of God’s man always before us, brings greater joy, harmony, and health to our own experience and to that of others we encounter along the way.

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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.

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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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