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Safety measures we can all take

From the August 15, 2016 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


The proliferation and randomness of terror attacks in the world have made ordinary citizens worried. They’ve left us wondering what measures we, as individuals, can take to contribute to the safety of our families, communities, and the world.  

Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the Lord your God. Wherefore ye shall do my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land in safety.

Leviticus 25:17, 18

It’s become obvious to me that terrorist tactics are aimed at muddling the human mind with fear and confusion in order to conquer it. So, it seems essential, then, for each of us to keep our mind so free of fear and confusion that we can think clearly and be alert, discerning, and wise. To this end, prayer has a vital role to play in keeping us and others safe.

My study of Christian Science constantly turns me to Christ Jesus as the model for effective prayer and action. He demonstrated for all humanity that everything beneficial can be done when we let God, not a preconceived mortal sense of things, guide us. Jesus proved that safety from sin, sickness, and all manner of life-threatening harm—all of which certainly tend to terrorize the human mind—can be found in the divine Science underlying our spiritual relation to God. Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of the divine Science Jesus practiced, wrote, “Jesus demonstrated the inability of corporeality, as well as the infinite ability of Spirit, thus helping erring human sense to flee from its own convictions and seek safety in divine Science” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 494).

A corporeal, or material, view of things is not a reliable basis for feeling safe. It always falls short, because it is finite. Corporeal sense, for example, has led people to take for granted that certain physical places are safe—such as the schools our children attend, the theaters families frequent, as well as many other places. But now that terror attacks have occurred in these places, they are no longer considered safe. Thus the necessity for this “erring human sense” of safety to “flee from its own convictions” and “seek safety in divine Science”—in a spiritually scientific understanding of man’s (everyone’s) inseparable relation to God as His spiritual reflection and of Spirit’s “infinite ability” to keep its own reflection safe—in every place and at all times.

This understanding, and the safety that comes with it, doesn’t just come into our human experience without our seeking it. It’s not some kind of magic thing that we can just call up in a prayer of desperation. Neither is it a kind of naive, blind trust in God. Nor does it rule out the taking of practical, common sense, safety measures. In other words, the real safety we need to seek involves doing the mental work of spiritualizing our thoughts and lives so that we develop an awareness of safety as fundamentally spiritual, not material. And this needs to be sought through daily prayer, consecrated study, and demonstration.

As we grow in our spiritual understanding of the indissoluble, scientific connection between God and man, our demonstrations of the safety provided therein may be modest, but they can also be very dramatic—because the closer we draw to God, give up erring material views, and become mentally free of fear and confusion, the more we experience God’s power to keep us safe. 

Prayer has a vital role to play in keeping us and others safe.

Yes, it’s God’s power, not our own power, that keeps us safe, as Jesus demonstrated. The experiences of practicing Christian Scientists, myself included, have shown that spiritually clear thinking makes one’s discernment keener to recognize impending danger, and this enables one to exercise the grace and dominion that reflect God’s protection and healing power. Spirit’s infinite ability not only protects the one who abides in it; it has the far-reaching ability to avert other human minds from perpetrating acts of terror. I’ve seen modest instances of this in my own life, and dramatic ones in the lives of other Christian Scientists. Such accounts have been published throughout the history of this magazine.

There’s no reason to limit the ability of Spirit, reflected in our prayers and lives, to avert terrorist attacks.

In Isaiah we read: “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land” (32:1, 2). In this I see the king of righteousness as the Christ, the living truth of man’s inseparable relation to God; the princes as individuals letting themselves be ruled by the righteous judgment and love of Christ; and man as each individual who seeks safety in divine Science, God’s law of good.

The Interpreter’s Bible, commenting on that passage, introduces it as “A summons to every life to be a shelter and a strength to others,” and it reads: “The work of salvation is not left to the great ones of earth. Indeed, that better, kinder world for which we long is to be built not by our leaders but by ourselves, the common people, who will show the saving spirit of love…. It is at least open to all men so to live that it will be easier for others to believe in God” (Vol. 5, pp. 343–344).

By leaning on the infinite ability of Spirit, each one of us can “be as an hiding place … the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.”

Barbara Vining

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