In this noisy world it’s easy to feel unheard, to think we have little or no influence on human lives or events. The fact is we can be so much more than inactive observers. Indeed, we can be moment-by-moment participants.
A Biblical lesson on light is helpful in this regard. It comes from Jesus’ instruction to his students, who were going into a world needing spiritually inspired thinking. Jesus encouraged his followers to grasp the importance of Christlike living — being “the light of the world.” He implied that it was natural for Christians to realize the beneficial influence their pure thoughts and lives could have on society.
The full range and influence of thought are still largely uncharted territory. It’s quite apparent, however, of the need to recognize the kinds of thoughts that are holding sway in our world, whether corrosive or beneficial, thoughts that have the potential to influence lives. And it’s important that we respond appropriately.
When fearful expectations, harmful intentions, or acts of ignorance seize our attention, an appropriate response is to stand firmly with the supremacy and tender, constant care of the source of wisdom and goodness — God. Doing so enables us to become conscious of His presence and universal law in operation, and how that dispels fear and divisiveness, how it provides direction, and how it awakens human thought to the rightness of unselfishness, honesty and compassion. In short, we can discern the influence of Christ, Truth, which has always been present to rightly direct and sustain people’s lives. Our work in this direction, as it relates to specific concerns in the world, can actually impel change for the better, even if the full scope of such change doesn’t appear immediately
Our influence for good expands as we comprehend more of the infinitude and goodness of God, the divine Mind, and of everyone’s inseparability from this Mind. In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy writes, “To understand that Mind is infinite, not bounded by corporeality, not dependent upon the ear and eye for sound or sight nor upon muscles and bones for locomotion, is a step towards the Mind-science by which we discern man’s nature and existence.”
Our prayers for society are also strengthened as we realize that because man’s actual nature is the very expression of the one all-loving Spirit, completely unrelated to mortality, no one can slip away from that original, spiritual perfection and become inescapably fallen. The intelligent and loving Mind does not behold its idea, man, as a lost or weighed-down mortal, separated by time, space, or experience from the harmony of being. Man’s perfection is a God-established fact. “In him [God] we live, and move, and have our being,” St. Paul said.
This demands more of us than merely thinking about another person or situation, crossing our fingers that everything will turn out OK. It involves the mental and spiritual discipline of realizing the power of divinity, the truth of being, by which we can dissolve the misleading, materialistic impressions of life. It means consistently turning our thought to the perfect, spiritual status of man and the universe; acknowledging the goodness and wisdom of God’s government, and denying the claims to validity of whatever would oppose His government.
This is not about ignoring evil. It’s about our realization of the truth of God and man, which is the very thing that can reveal the infinitude of goodness and just the right solution. Prayer can open our thought to spiritual light in the midst of the darkness of personal loss, of moral confusion, of economic uncertainty, of family or regional conflict.
It continues with the deep desire to feel the goodness that the physical senses insist is missing. This can lead to a sense of spiritual strengthening, a greater certainty that what may have seemed unsolvable does have an answer. In this way we are letting in the light. That light—and our lives—starts to shine so that others can see its good effects.
There’s plenty to be done, no doubt. Let’s not waste time thinking of ourselves as plain old humans stuck with no practical way to improve our lives and the course of society. That’s just not true. There’s a wiser choice. We can and should up our game — commit ourselves more than ever to the metaphysical work of bringing to the world what we see it needing—the spiritual, healing light of scientific Christianity.