By Bob Cummings, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Michigan
for Third Church of Christ, Scientist
Our hearts ache for all those affected by troubling occurrences of violence. What’s needed is more heaven on earth to displace what to some must seem hellish. You and I can make a difference.
At MSU’s annual Foglio Lecture on Spirituality and Medicine a few years ago, I was privileged to meet Father Jake Foglio, a Catholic priest who has served in Kalamazoo, Jackson, Flint, Fenton, and East Lansing and was a team chaplain for the MSU football team years ago. I found him extraordinarily humble and kind.
Meeting “Jake” reminded me of something author Bob Goff said at the Battle Creek Community Prayer Breakfast the year before: “We want people to feel like they just met heaven when they meet us.” And I wondered what the world would be like if we were all a little more humble and kind.
While many think of heaven as a far-off, future place, heaven may be viewed as a state of thought experiencing spiritual harmony and bliss because governed by the divine Spirit — here and hereafter.
Jesus taught his disciples to pray, “…Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.” (Luke 11:2) He also said, “…the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21)
I ask myself, “Does divine goodness reign in my thinking and actions? Would people feel like they just met an individual expression of heaven if they met me?”
This needn’t feel futile or insignificant. Consider a test to measure the alkalinity of water in swimming pools. You fill a test tube with pool water and add drops of two agents, giving the water a purple tint. Then you add drops of a third agent, counting the drops. When the water turns clear again, the number of that last drop gives you the alkalinity reading.
Maybe it’s the kid in me, but, I always like seeing the water turn clear with that last drop. Of course, the last drop doesn’t cause the entire change. Each drop makes its proportional share of the change, neutralizing the other agents in the water.
To the extent that our hearts and minds are filled with goodness and love, the state of our thinking mirrors the Divine, and this neutralizes a bit of evil in the world. Paul said, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)
When Black Lives Matter people were protesting in Dallas and All Lives Matter people counter-protested, instead of clashing, they got together and hugged one another. Instead of violence breaking out, peace broke out. It looked like a case of many individual “drops” improving things a little here on earth.
Now, one drop won’t clear up everything and may even appear to have little effect. But it will contribute to needed change, until that last drop goes in.
Christian theologian Mary Baker Eddy said, “Let unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love — the kingdom of heaven — reign within us, and sin, disease, and death will diminish until they finally disappear.”