I’m profoundly grateful for acts of kindness from a church I never knew. During the Great Depression of the 1930s in the United States, this church placed copies of this magazine in the railroad station nearby (which was one way ideas were shared in those pre-internet times).
One day, my grandfather came to the railway station intending to take his own life. Having sustained a severe head injury that made it difficult for him to work, he was in desperate straits. As he recounted it, after two years of struggle, and with doctors giving him little hope for recovery, he felt that throwing himself in front of a train would be the best solution for everyone. One train came and left. He lost his nerve. While waiting for a second train, he picked out a magazine from the distribution box and read it. One of the articles that deeply moved him pointed out that God is Love, and in a single moment he went from hopelessness to hope. That one idea—bold, startling, and welcomed—broke through the depressing narrative of those years of suffering, and he grasped that a whole new way of living, free of anguish, was possible. He walked out of that train station with the magazine in hand and directly shared the article with his wife. Soon they both started visiting the local Church of Christ, Scientist, regularly.
Today, I’m still so grateful to the people who welcomed my grandparents into that church. And I’m also grateful to the Christian Science practitioner—someone who helps others through prayer—who answered my grandfather’s many questions and helped him experience a full recovery from the head injury. The unselfishness of all of these individuals must have come from a place of overflowing gratitude to God, and their willingness to share what they loved changed the trajectory of our family. My own practice of Christian Science has brought physical healings, character transformation, and countless times of comfort, guidance, and peace that have in turn enabled me to help others.
True gratitude impels us to go beyond simply feeling good, to doing good.
Gratitude to God that comes from knowledge of God as natural good, whose love pours out abundantly and constantly, gives us entry into a continuing cycle of good that magnifies that love and multiplies its blessings. In a heart brightened by God’s light, no darkness, manifested as injury, poverty, or lack, can remain. Gratitude brings healing.
True gratitude also impels us to go beyond simply feeling good, to doing good. It empowers us to take actions that go beyond our comfort zone and break through fears—whether of the stranger or of others’ opinions. It dissolves the cynical sense that says others are not receptive to or would not understand God, Love, and opens the way to give to others what we have been given so freely.
Christ Jesus summarized God’s commandments into two that he called the greatest commandments: Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself (see Matthew 22:37–39). Fulfilling these commandments is easier to do when you know that the source of all love and goodness is God, so the good you have to give is worthy. And you—the loved of God—are worthy to give it. In her Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, speaks of the vigor and tenacity of this love: “I make strong demands on love, call for active witnesses to prove it, and noble sacrifices and grand achievements as its results. Unless these appear, I cast aside the word as a sham and counterfeit, having no ring of the true metal. Love cannot be a mere abstraction, or goodness without activity and power” (p. 250).
Loving and sharing with our neighbor isn’t sharing into a void. There are no “have-nots,” only “haves,” as we all have the capacity to know and understand divine Love. Whether we are sharing the Sentinel and other Christian Science periodicals, inviting a friend to a Christian Science lecture, or simply sharing a healing idea—acts born of gratitude to an all-loving, ever-present God plant seeds of hope that keep growing to magnify and multiply all that is good. Not one act of kindness is ever done in vain.
Kim Crooks Korinek
True, the heart grows rich in giving;
All its wealth is living grain;
Seeds which mildew in the garner,
Scattered, fill with gold the plain.
. . . . . .
Is the heart a living power?
Self-entwined its strength sinks low;
It can only live in loving,
And, by serving, love will grow.
—Elizabeth Charles, adapt., Christian Science Hymnal, No. 360
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