A Lesson from the Arctic Owl

Late on a cold November afternoon noon a Christian Scientist was walking along a lonely stretch of the shore of Lake Michigan. Suddenly in the oncoming dusk she saw a great white bird resting motionless on a rock. As she drew closer she realized that here was a beautiful, full-grown, arctic owl, a rare sight at such a latitude, for the snow-colored bird does not range so far south except in winter. While she cautiously admired him, she heard a screaming in the air above, and a large flock of gulls swooped down from the sky and began circling around the strange visitor. Screaming angrily, diving straight towards the owl, they obviously hoped to frighten him.

The Christian Scientist's astonishment at this unprovoked attack upon an owl which does not prey upon the gulls or live on the same food, gave way as she realized the explanation of the onslaught: he was a foreigner, different from themselves. They had never seen anything like him before; hence they feared him. They apparently did not know that they would be foreigners themselves in the arctic region.

What the Christian Scientist saw portrayed by these birds were the characteristics of the carnal mind which are active in the world today—reasonless hatred and persecution born of suspicion and fear of the unknown—characteristics, as old as Cain, which make for fratricide. Moses learned to understand these characteristics of the carnal mind and how to cope with them, for he gave as part of his instructions for the conduct of the children of Israel, "Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt."

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The Importance of Being Spiritual
June 24, 1944

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