Each issue of The Christian Science Monitor that I open inspires me with an article on someone who is making a difference in the world. The People Making a Difference series may be at the back of the Monitor’s weekly print edition, but it is the first thing I read. I was similarly inspired last spring when my son and I attended the Rotary International Convention in Bangkok, Thailand. More than 50,000 people from around the world were there – 160 nations representing 35,000 clubs, all making a difference.
The event did not get much press coverage, but it was a significant gathering. Each Rotary club works alongside churches and other organizations on national and international projects geared to meet major needs. For the next decade, the organization’s international emphasis is on eradicating illiteracy and poverty. Other projects provide food, water, and shelter to the victims of natural disasters and war.
At the convention, a quote by 19th-century American clergyman Phillips Brooks was shared: “God has given to every one of us the power to be spiritual, and by our spirituality to lift and enlarge and enlighten the lives we touch.” In a similar vein, Mary Baker Eddy urged her students to “labor to awake the slumbering capability of man” (“Message to The Mother Church for 1900,” p. 3). Isn’t that spirituality the very basis of making a difference?
A student of Christian Science knows firsthand that God is supreme, and that everyone has the spiritual tools at hand to enlarge and enlighten the lives we touch. Mrs. Eddy expected her students to pray not just to heal themselves, but the world. The Christian Science magazines make us more aware of issues facing us at home and abroad. But more important, the Bible and “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Mary Baker Eddy, give us logical answers and lead us to spiritual solutions to these issues. How better to “awake the slumbering capability of man” and make a difference in our lives and our world?
No matter what the conflict or challenge, it can be healed through prayer. To take just one example, several years ago New Mexico was feeling the effects of a drought. Our local Christian Science church contacted other churches around the area and discussed the need to pray, expecting a healthy balance in our atmosphere. Each day I began my prayers by declaring that God is good. A good God doesn’t send out evil to His beloved children, I reasoned, so negative convictions about drought and scarcity could not have any real power. That month we had ample rain, and I’m convinced that consecrated prayer revealed the harmony that had been there all along. (In fact, a man from Los Alamos called our Christian Science Reading Room to ask us to stop praying because, in his estimation, we had received enough moisture!)
Another good way to begin praying for our world is with the “Daily Prayer” found in the “Manual of the Mother Church” by Mrs. Eddy: “ ‘Thy kingdom come;’ let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin; and may Thy Word enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them!” (p. 41). Through this short but powerful prayer we can address any news item that is challenging us with a picture of evil. When I read or hear of evil, I try to find the right answer through reasoning and prayer. Once again I begin with God’s kingdom, expecting to see and hear what is fair and healthy for those involved.
Jesus asked that we pray to “our Father which art in heaven” and ask for our “daily bread” – the divine thoughts that feed and so answer humanity’s needs (see Matthew 6:9-11). He expected us to forgive ourselves and others as we seek right ideas from God, our Father, and reject the temptation to believe that evil is more powerful than good.
The Rotary Convention made me grateful for those caring reports from around the world, which show such an outpouring of enrichment and affection for mankind. But they have also become a good reminder of my own responsibility to make a difference. It is such a joy to have spiritual resources at hand – and I’m thankful that we have tools we can use to stimulate our “slumbering capability” and help our waking world.
From the Christian Science Sentinel.