A Christian Science perspective.
The other evening I learned something quite remarkable about the little hummingbird I’ve observed all summer as it sips from the honeysuckle just outside the window and then stops at the trumpet vine in a corner of the garden. Sometime in the next several weeks this tiny bird will migrate to Panama from western Massachusetts. Included in its itinerary is a non-stop flight over the Gulf of Mexico. Its migration is the greatest distance traveled of all the species of birds, in proportion to its size (“Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air,” PBS Nature).
I have had renewed respect for this strong and determined creature who is deceptively delicate in appearance. It has provided a helpful metaphor as situations are presented to me in my work as a Christian Science practitioner, of folks facing down fear of new situations and challenges in their work, altered family configurations, changes in schools, even the need to renovate their own character or health. Fear needn’t be a factor. It only clouds or obscures views of present good available to us through prayer.
This tiny bird fuels up with the nectar available to it and goes forward according to the divine pattern that protects and preserves it. It embodies spiritual qualities such as resolve, determination, intelligence, courage, and strength – the opposite of the fragility that, at first glance, it seems to epitomize.
As I watched it relax on a vine, without the otherwise constant blur of its wings, which were now folded, I saw not an ounce of fear. And it occurred to me that divine Mind is the originator of all creation. Fearless being is ours too, as creations, manifestations, of God’s universal, caring love.
A woman I know is also fearless and much stronger than she might seem to those who don’t know her. To appearances, she is advanced in years and her material resources are not plentiful. Recently she found that her happy living situation was suddenly and unexpectedly coming to an end. She had an urgent need to “migrate.”
This news caused understandable concern to those who love her and feel a sense of responsibility for her. Some felt outright fear. But the woman, who has spent decades looking to God as her help and practical guide in all things, enjoyed a different outlook altogether. Her eyes were fastened on God. When I spoke with her, there was a gentle, quiet trust and a conviction that God’s hold on her had not loosened, but was, as ever, firm and tender. She expected continuous good. Her stance was “all unafraid,” as a hymn by Violet Hay from the “Christian Science Hymnal” (No. 136) captures in this stanza:
Though storm or discord cross my path
Thy power is still my stay,
Though human will and woe would check
My upward-soaring way;
All unafraid I wait, the while
Thy angels bring release,
For still Thy presence is with me,
And Thou dost give me peace.
Though the date for her relocation loomed in the near future, she prayerfully, gracefully, made a few inquiries. Within a couple of days, on her third viewing of potential housing, she found her home. And not just an adequate spot, but something that suited her in every way – something that thrilled her as any new adventure would.
We all have the spiritual capacity and vision to refuse fears that tend to accompany change, and instead consider these opportunities to be occasions for experiencing what Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, stated in a letter to a church in New Hampshire: “We live in an age of Love’s divine adventure to be All-in-all” (“The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,” p. 158).
So, like the hummingbird, as we migrate to another place, we are actually moving within God’s universe of unfolding good.
The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you in His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17, New King James Version