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Church Raising, Not Church Burning

Bringing a spiritual perspective to world events and daily life.

At a time when the Olympic torch has been circling the United States, a symbol of harmony among nations and peoples, it is ironic that there has also been a countrywide torching of churches. Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this newspaper, once wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ". . . Christian Science lights the torch of spiritual understanding" (p. 202). Mrs. Eddy discovered Christian Science, which shows how to find this understanding. A spiritual understanding of God destroys bigotry, hatred, and ignorance. It ends the misguided assumption that might makes right and that individuals can take might and right into their own hands.

There was a time almost two thousand years ago when Christ Jesus planned to journey to Jerusalem (see Luke 9:51-56). He sent some of his followers to prepare the way for him through a region known as Samaria. Jesus was a Jew, and Jews and Samaritans did not deal with one another. The followers of Jesus were shunned. Learning of this, several of his disciples asked him, "Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them . . . ?" But Jesus replied: "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." And the account concludes, "They went to another village." Differences of religious or ethnic background obviously did not tempt Jesus to use violence at any time. Such actions would have been contrary to everything he exemplified and all that he taught.

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The triumph over violent acts in society lies in patience and love, not in more violence. A love for God and His creation transcends any human opinion or prejudice, douses the flames of hatred, and blesses, but never injures, others. There is a love that acts as a purifying flame, warming people's motives so that there will be no need for increased security, practical as that may be; or for more conferences and committees, reasonable as these efforts may be; or for legislative and penal action, as drastically necessary as these may on occasion seem. The end to out-and-out violence, as well as subtle antagonism, lies in being more respectful of and responsive to the rights and needs of others. What is often said is always true: violence cannot solve the problems of racial or economic pressures. But love can! Love for one another, a patient love for all mankind and not just human sympathy, is attainable. This love follows the pattern of God's love for His creation, man and the universe. God is Love itself, as the Bible affirms (see I John 4:16). Divine Love can do nothing but love. Man in the likeness of God can, then, express nothing but love -- love for God and love for all God's children.

Because we are the offspring of this Love, the knowledge of God -- that spiritual understanding mentioned earlier -- shows us what is true. Spiritual understanding eliminates hatred, injury, moral depravity, and murderous intent, which are all foreign to the children God created. Racial prejudice is basically a form of hatred, inflammatory and destructive. Legislation cannot eliminate hatred; anguish and pain cannot compensate for hatred; courts and punishment cannot dispel hatred. But Love does destroy hatred.

This Love recognizes all people as children of God and reveals that they reflect Him. Science and Health reveals Church to be that which operates in society to uplift actions and promote spiritual understanding (see p. 583). Not church burnings, but church raisings are needed. The spiritual understanding of Church raises our concepts of God. It shows the supremacy of good. People of all faiths can subscribe to the holy purpose of Church. As they do so, there can be no more burnings of churches, but instead an enlightenment. People who love God supremely must bear witness to His perfect creation, which includes all men and women and children. Understanding God reveals the means for us all to live together in peace.

You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine.

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