The coming centennial anniversary of the Wright brothers' first flight (Dec. 17) is a reminder that people are breaking through barriers that were once insurmountable - they're making new discoveries in science and scholarship, and breaking limits in sports, technology, manufacturing, and the arts. Making strides, individually and collectively, toward freedom from the torments of racial, ethnic, religious, gender, and age discrimination and injustice.
The idea that we humans can accomplish awesome good things - even seemingly impossible things - is not a modern idea. It's as old as time.
The Bible is a remarkable treasure chest of "impossible" occurrences that resulted when people humbly trusted in God to help them. Noah built an ark. Moses led his people out of bondage and parted the Red Sea. Elisha healed Naaman of leprosy. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego emerged unscathed from a fiery furnace. Peter walked on water. So did Jesus - and he also turned water into wine, traveled instantaneously, fed and healed multitudes, raised the dead, and triumphed over death. These are just a few examples.
The birth of Jesus is another. As described in Luke, the angel Gabriel announces to Mary - an event known as the Annunciation - that she will be Jesus' mother. An impossibility from a secular point of view: Mary was a virgin. And she expresses no little surprise, even disbelief. But Gabriel reassures her with seven words, "For with God nothing shall be impossible" (Luke 1:37).
Those seven words, cutting through the darkness of limited thought with the dazzling light of divine Truth, echo throughout Jesus' teaching and life. He framed them this way: "For with God all things are possible" (Mark 10:27).
The founder of the Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy, recognized that this Christ-message is relevant to you and me today, in every aspect of life. God, Love, is still omnipotent and ever available to help - making His/Her presence known in practical ways to the receptive thought in all of us.
The idea is so fundamental that Mrs. Eddy started page 1 of her book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," with this "announcement": "The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God ...."
We can't see, hear, or feel divine Love with the physical senses. It requires our spiritual sense to confirm the presence of God.
The good news: Spiritual sense is innate. Everyone has it, because God made everyone. We are God's children. Our spiritual sense tells us that this is true, and that we are therefore like Him, loving and good. It tells us that existence is not confined to physicality. It tells us that the things in life that are good, intelligent, real, lasting, and substantial are not made of matter. It tells us that life is spiritual.
In my field, architecture, remarkable, heretofore impossible things are happening. Frank Gehry's work, such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, hints at the infinite possibilities of technology and form.
I've seen proof in my own work that when I listen to what God wants me to do, I progress. When I acknowledge that the divine Mind, the one infinite Soul, is the source of all intelligence and art, I make exciting discoveries. When I remember that I'm the reflection of the ever-present divine Spirit, I see wonder, newness, individuality, and originality take shape in my buildings. I've seen prayer overcome economic and technical limitations as well bureaucratic obstacles. Prayer has revealed advanced ideas and forms, opened doors of freedom and opportunity, sustained my idealism, and clarified my purpose and endeavor.
In ways that go well beyond architecture, I'm learning how important and practical it is to turn to God to guide, sustain, and protect me every moment.
"Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness," says Science and Health (page 332). Right this moment God's "divine message" is speaking to you. Announcing that all things - freedom, dominion, safety, justice, fulfillment, happiness, peace, reformation, and healing - are possible.