SOME estimate that on any particular day there are at least fifteen million refugees around the globe. In the United States--generally considered an affluent, developed country --there are still hundreds of thousands of homeless.The truth is that we're all challenged by this issue. Not only do we want to provide practical help for those in need but we also feel our own need to get more assurance of the supremacy of divine justice. This is especially true when we hear of tragic loss as a result of hurricane or fire, such as the blaze that recently caused substantial loss in the Oakland, California, area. Anyone, it would seem, can be a victim of circumstance. We might say that homelessness is fundamentally a religious issue, because it suggests God's unwillingness or inability to care for man and man's unwillingness to love his neighbor. Yet both suggestions are contrary to the teachings of Christ Jesus, whose proofs of the creator's care were constant and unequaled. The notion of divine injustice is also contrary to our intuitive feeling that God is good. How could an all-wise, infinitely loving creator allow some of His offspring to be stranded without a home? He couldnand He doesn't. Many who have themselves lost their homes or their sense of belonging have found that a basic starting point is to gain a firmer grasp of this spiritual fact. To begin to feel convinced through prayer that no one, in truth, can be separated from home--that God's offspring include and have the right to it forever--inevitably opens the way for that truth to be more concret ely apparent where it may now seem hidden. "In him we live, and move, and have our being. Paul's words from Acts point us to the spiritual reality of life to be proved in human experience. If we actually live in God, we live in Love, not in desperation. We live in safety, not danger. We're inseparable from the creator's provision, not deprived of it. And this truth must also be universal, because God is universal, infinite Love. Beyond the complex causes of homelessness, beyond the injustice and tragedy, is the spiritual truth of God and His creation that stands forever. It is this truth that enables us progressively to prove that there's a home for everyone. An ordinary impression of things may see only limitation, hopelessness. But a clearer, spiritual view shows something else really going on--man as God's spiritual image, living in His presence; every individuality cared for under the wise jurisdiction of divine law. Prayer that takes in such a view doesn't shut our eyes to people's needs or ignore their cries for help. But prayer from this basis enables us to respond more effectively to those cries through an increased recognition of God's government of man and of what belongs to God's man. It enables us to bear witness to the activity of Christ, the divine healing influence in human thought, which provides tangibly for people's needs. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, observes in Pulpit and Press: "The real house in which 'we live, and move, and have our being' is Spirit, God, the eternal harmony of infinite Soul. Each of us has a part to play in bringing this fact to light. Basing our prayers on it, we'll inevitably see a lessening of homelessness.
This is a condensed version of an article that originally appeared in the "Thinking it through column of the September 2 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.