Safety, health, supply, peace – wonderful and fond hopes. The modules of life. But where are they? Social media, the news keep pouring the opposite into our homes, our hearts. We even feel helpless when we are not directly involved.
From a Sunday school class, our daughter brought back one day a powerful image. The class had dealt with the question how to help the victims of a natural disaster. They came up with this: An airplane throws off boxes with much needed things – food, clothing, first aid – in troubled sports, devastated by natural disaster, mismanagement, or civil war, and those boxes are attached to parachutes, which are formed by qualities and thoughts. Goodness, strength, endurance, listening, grace were strong enough to carry the needed goods and would meet the need. Can you picture spiritual qualities like safety, hope, grace, go down on despair and hopelessness? Divine, indestructible Life and goodness overcome death and fear? Supply and nourishment wrestle down hunger and need?
More than hundred years ago Mary Baker Eddy, who loved mankind and spent her life devoted to healing and comfort of others, wrote: "From the interior of Africa to the utmost parts of the earth, the sick and the heavenly homesick or hungry hearts are calling on me for help, and I am helping them." (My, p. 147) But unlike Albert Schweitzer and other philanthropists she never set foot on the African Continent but spent her entire life in the U.S. She found a way to bless the entire planet – and we must find a way to help one another on this planet,too, to heal and support each other – and as much as Mary Baker Eddy felt impelled to meet "distant" needs as much as the ones close at hand, we can strive to live for all mankind, too.
The prayer that I yearn to whisper into every ear, is the 91st Psalm. It starts like this:
"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler." To know of a certainty, that the refuge and fortress, the shelter and safety in God are the natural habitat for humanity. To feel that no place is ever out of reach of divine goodness, God, being the center and circumference of our spiritual being.
One supreme God, all men one family: If we pray and listen to our Maker, our thoughts reflect the goodness and power and they become shining transparencies for a higher freedom. Love, God, and Life, God, are holding hands and are encircling each one of us and enabling us all to know in our hearts: God is indeed our refuge and our fortress. Every good thought blesses - and a blessing heals, saves and protects. God protects and shelters the universe and wherever we are, we are at one with God. In Mary Baker Eddy’s time helpless and hungry people, lonely people, refugees, outcasts, despaired were calling out for help and Mary Baker Eddy would meet their needs in prayer – apart from the thousands whom she healed helped in concrete and direct ways, praying for them on direct demand and visiting and healing them specifically. Today helpless and hungry people, lonely people, refugees, outcasts, despaired are calling out for help -– and we can open our mental ears and do something.
So let's send off some parachutes, lets know that the 91st Psalm is not just a nice poem – it is a tangible power. I see the parachutes softly sail down to the ground and being welcomed with yearning hearts and minds. I think about the 91st Psalm and I remember its beginning like Martin Luther translated it: "He that dwelleth under the umbrella of the Highest and stays within the shadow of the Almighty."
May hope and gladness open their petals in every heart, opening potential for constructive action, dynamic grief and expectant outlook, looking up in thought to find the parachutes of spiritual qualities reach the waiting. They are being sent off by a humanity realizing more and more that is indeed a family. United through our divine Parent, infinite Love. We feel the peace because we “all serve one another”. There is no other way to heaven --- and here it begins, the path towards eternity.
Come, O fount of every vision,
Lift our eyes to what will come.
See the lion and the young lamb
Dwell together in Your home.
Hear the cries of war fall silent,
Feel our love glow like the sun.
When we all serve one another,
Then our heaven is begun.
(From Hymn. 460 by Eugene B. Navias)
What is the opposite of envy? Generosity? Happiness? Satisfaction? Modesty? Perhaps all of it. But basically I feel, the opposite, and perfect antidote to envy is the knowledge of being loved by Love, God. Before we can feel generous and happy and express satisfaction and peace it is important to feel that we have something to share.
In a limited world without God everything is limited, but this is not the true story of mankind. There is more to life than eyes can see and ears behold – and this more is supreme, limitless, intelligent, wonderful Principle Soul, the dear Father-Mother. Soul is surrounding us, balancing us, enriching us, forming constructive and colorful relationships for us, strengthening our joy and gratitude and giving us life – and we know that God exists because we exist. There is no other explanation.
Envy presented itself to me in a very disturbing way some time ago. It came to me when an opportunity was given to my best friend, an offer that I felt, was meant for me. Why her and not me? How to reconcile the envy and the friendship? While attending a service I thought about this dilemma and I asked to be freed from this negativity and nagging feeling, envy. And the answer came clearly with the tenth commandment:
"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's."
How could I do this? After all, this is a commandent, not an option. How could I see that all opportunities are mine? That mine is the fullness of life and joy as much as my friend's? Again, that answer came clearly with a commandment, this time with the first one: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." (Ex. 20: 4 and 17).
Keeping the first commandment enables us to keep the tenth, I thought. It makes sense to have the first as the first. It teaches me to acknowledge the unity and supremacy of good, to see unlimited possibilities of eternity and Spirit, the joy of divine Life. Here nothing is tight, restricted – everything is free to all. Could I accept that? Of course – and it felt easy to let go; the mental thorns fell of and the velvet of pure goodness filled my thinking. It feels so good to be free from envy. Indeed: "Envy is the atmosphere of hell." ('02, p.3: 28)
My friend asked me a few weeks later whether she could offer this opportunity to me. I honestly do not know, I answered. Let's find out together, I said. Let's listen and pray together. There is definitely enough space and opportunity for all.
Eventually both of us finally decided on different actions and were led to other opportunities, blessing us both immensely. In the face of colorful, divine supply of boundless, beautiful good, embracing everyone, envy is small, very small and ugly and pinched, only large enough to notice it and to walk away from it, forever. Thinking in the divine way of generosity and wideness, and walking in the practical application of solidarity with our fellow sister and brother, as faithfully and courageously as we possibly can --- this is the way.
Envy was not transformed, as anything negative ever is. Envy was not lifted to the level of my thinking any more. It was left behind for the richness of the holiness of Spirit.
You will be at peace when you know that Spirit is your life. You will have the courage to be honest when you know that you are the reflection of spiritual power. You will have deeper faith when you feel and know that spiritual understanding is already yours as God’s own child. You will have more compassion with yourself and others when you know that you are the image and likeness of Love. Already now. You have all the information you need.
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.
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