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More than optimism

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

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AS EARLY AS 1902, various newspapers noticed that Christian Scientists had a positive outlook on life. The Boston Herald mentioned that they were "remarkably cheerful and optimistic." In 1909, the Topeka State-Journal commented, "The best thing about Christian science [sic] is that it inculcates a spirit of optimism; of joy and gladness and good will."

The optimist generally expects the best outcome. That's a helpful approach in today's mental climate, when the global economy is still working its way back to normal, and wars and rumors of wars continue.

But a positive outlook can take anyone only so far. To tell people who have lost their homes that "it will all work out" might not be comforting. For those whose communities have been shattered by a natural disaster or by war, it could seem heartless.

Mary Baker Eddy's discovery of Christian Science provides spiritual backing to the desire to offer hope for those in trouble. She perceived that Jesus' proofs of God's care went far beyond struggling against the material evidence of injury, age, disease, to proving the truth of spiritual reality. In fact, Jesus' recognition of people's relation to Spirit was so clear that limitation and discord became irrelevant – truly unreal – before the allness of God. This resolved trouble and restored health.

For a widow whose son had just died, optimism must have seemed remote; the long-term consequences for her future were serious. But Jesus knew better than anyone else that things really would work out because God doesn't abandon His children. The master Christian took the widow beyond the promise that there would be a future solution – to the actual proof that all was well right then.

Luke's Gospel says that Jesus told her, "Weep not." And then he gave her reason to stop weeping. He commanded, "Young man, I say unto thee, Arise." Jesus' conviction that God could and would make this possible went far beyond optimism. He was fearlessly living the reality of God's power to bless humankind in any situation. Imagine what it must have been like to be in the crowd when "he that was dead sat up, and began to speak." This event had a profound impact on the people who saw it, and they acknowledged God's healing power (see Luke 7:11–16).

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