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Help for the Entire Community

LARGE scale migration of jobs. Devastating crop failures. Monstrous rainfall and flooding. These things don't threaten just a few families, they hit entire communities.

Yet even though a crisis is never desirable, good things can come in the face of destruction. Neighbors often discover the joy of working together to rebuild. Lessons can be learned and steps taken that will help to prevent future disasters. There really is a joy in the resolve to rise up and rebuild that lifts us beyond the despair that disasters sometimes leave behind.

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Such an uplifting resolve has its roots in the strength of the spiritual bond God has with each of His children. The strength of each individual discovering and living his or her unbreakable relationship with God is what really supports a community.

Thinking about communities rebuilding always reminds me of Nehemiah in the Bible. When he heard that Jerusalem's walls still lay in ruins, he wept. But he didn't give in to despair. The Bible tells us that Nehemiah prayed, and as a result had an opportunity to ask the Persian king to allow him to return to his homeland in order to rebuild the wall. Once in Jerusalem, Nehemiah brought the task to completion in spite of many obstacles. Throughout his work, however, the most important thing Nehemiah did was consistently to seek God's help and guidance in prayer.

For example, when enemies tried to keep the work from being completed, Nehemiah prayed: ``Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands'' (Nehemiah 6:9). Isn't this an appropriate prayer meant for each of us as we work at rebuilding in communities hit by disaster?

In a very real sense, the Founder of the Christian Science Church, Mary Baker Eddy, understood such building work. Her establishment of the Cause of Christian Science came through tireless work. Mankind needed its sense of the immediacy and efficacy of God's healing love rebuilt. Centuries of dull materialism had broken down, so to speak, the walls of mankind's feeling for the closeness of God and for His healing power. That closeness had not vanished, of course. God had not grown distant over the centuries. Our understanding of this loving closeness was what needed awakening. Mrs. Eddy's work has greatly helped fill the need for spirituality within the community of man.

Because of her broad, spiritual outlook, Mrs. Eddy saw the entire world as her community. And the size of the community does not matter in God's sight. His love is for man. Once, Mark's Gospel tells us, Christ Jesus said, ``The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath'' (2:27). I sometimes rephrase this to remind myself that ``the community was made for man, not man for the community.'' Since God, divine Spirit, is man's crea-tor, our being is spiritual. All that is God-derived belongs to us: intelligence, energy, vision, ingenuity, persistence.

God's love is strong and real. It is immediate and able to meet human needs. Mrs. Eddy says of God in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation'' (p. 332). Because God is omnipotent, omnipresent Love, where there is man, there is God's caring love also. And God's love is well able to lift the entire community. This is where the best help for any community is--in God's unqualified and immediate love for each one in the family of man.

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