War Relief Work in France

The word relief, according to dictionary definitions, means a lifting up; that which removes or lessens evil, pain, discomfort, uneasiness, burden of duty. In reviewing some of the helpful experience encountered during a period of two or more months of war relief work in France, one is reminded that the greatest events in the history of the world have been taking place during this period. The aspect of Europe and the globe has been changed. A new era has dawned. The pillars of a universal democracy are in course of construction.

In marking the rapidity with which these satisfactory readjustments have taken place in the world during the past few months, every Christian Scientist turns with loving gratitude to the pioneer group of ten workers who were the first ones commissioned by The Mother Church for overseas war relief work in France. During those crucial days and weeks in the early summer, when even nations were fearful, these workers did not falter in their allegiance to Principle. When hundreds of thousands had fled or were preparing to flee from war-threatened areas they made wise and loving provision to remain. During weeks of air raids and long range bombardment they turned to their books in order to gain a higher understanding of God and man's relationship to Him as an indestructible idea. They recognized that health, harmony, and protection are normal and natural states of being, and that in the benign government of infinite Truth and Love there is adequate health, peace, and protection for all. During the last air raid which took place in one locality, several war workers stationed there rejoiced because of the healing messages which always reach man through God's direct means of communication, angels. They knew that these divine intuitions are commissioned to impart only messages of Truth to man, such as goodness, health, Safety, wholeness, and purity. The rejoicing over this spiritual fact on that particular night healed or relieved the city, wherein these war workers were stationed, from fear of future bombardment and destruction. This experience reminds one of the songs that Paul and Silas sang effectively in prison during the watches of the night when the damp, pestilential cells of the philippian dungeon were opened up and the prisoners set free.

Among the many interesting branches of activity which the war relief work in France affords, none has given greater inspiration than the distribution of The Christian Science Monitor in the hospitals. There is truly a new order of things in these army hospitals, which is, again, another form of relief for the world. One commanding officer told a war worker that the soldier was the most satisfactory patient on earth, because he was always satisfied. "It will be difficult," he said, "to return to civil practice and have as patients influential, wealthy, and complaining people." The war workers have learned to appreciate the work of the honest army physician and surgeon. Commanding officers have been consulted regarding the distribution of Monitors in the hospitals and, in each case, consent has been gladly given. One officer said: "We are here for one purpose,—to win the war. Come as often as you like, when you please, bring as many papers as you can, and always make yourself at home." Still another commandant said, "Every one knows that splendid paper."

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A Helpful Experience
December 21, 1918

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