In many communities people are joining together to restore and preserve their aging neighborhoods. Buildings that had become dilapidated are being renovated and returned to beauty and purpose. On once ugly vacant lots neighbors are gathering to create lovely gardens.
Such projects do much to clean up neighborhoods and to give people greater comfort and security. Yet through prayer even more can be done for all neighborhoods.
My husband and I have lived in numerous areas and neighborhoods. We have lived in a tent in a state park, a basement apartment in a northern state, a two-story house in a large city. In each material structure we prayed to realize the true concept of home. That is, we established in our thinking the fact that home, in its truest sense, is not a material place in a particular location; rather, conceived of spiritually, home is composed of such God-derived qualities as peace, love, unselfishness, joy. As these qualities are expressed, the feeling of home is maintained wherever we live.
A few years ago my husband and I purchased for rental property a duplex in a large metropolitan area. We endeavored to see it in the same spiritual light as our earlier homes. We thought of this duplex as a place where tenants on a limited budget could find beauty and convenience.
We knew through our study of Christian Science that God is a loving Father-Mother who tenderly cares for all. The Bible gives numerous accounts in which men and women experienced God's care, and what might be called a feeling of home, in the face of doubt and even destruction. One could say that Daniel was ''at home'' in the lions' den and that Joseph was ''at home'' in the prison cell, because each felt the power of God with them in those darkest moments.
Knowing that all of God's children express the one divine Mind, we prayed that individuals needing the qualities offered by our duplex would be led to it.
The effect of these prayers proved even greater than we had anticipated. One evening a couple of years after we bought the property we were working in the yard when a neighbor from across the street came to visit.
''This is really a nice neighborhood, isn't it?'' I remarked.
Slim, our neighbor, smiled and said, ''It is now. You know it's the strangest thing, but as soon as you folks bought on this block, the place began to change for the better. Just like that.'' And he snapped his fingers for emphasis.
I told him how happy I was to hear of the improvement, and silently gave gratitude to God. Humbly I realized that this upgrading of a neighborhood block was a mere whisper of the infinite possibilities of universal community preservation available through sincere prayer that acknowledges God as all-powerful and the source of all good; that discerns home in its spiritual significance.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scripturesm of the inevitable effects of acknowledging the one true God: ''One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, 'Love thy neighbor as thyself;' annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry, - whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed.'' n1
n1 Science and Health, p.340.
Christ Jesus stated that the first and great commandment is to love God with all our heart and soul and mind. Then he added, ''And the second is like unto it , Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.'' n2 These two urgent commands, when universally obeyed, will heal neighborhood blight and decay.
n2 Matthew 22:39.
The time for such loving is now, and we can make a major contribution through uplifting, or spiritualizing, our view of what home really is. Our neighborhoods will be greatly blessed. DAILY BIBLE VERSE For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Acts 17:28