April 17, 2017
—The specter of famine in several African countries demands humanitarian relief now. There’s an equally pressing need for spiritual sustenance. People’s ideas about God have a tremendous impact on their courage and their ability to survive hardship. I’ve never forgotten an interview I heard with an Ethiopian man during the drought and famine there in the 1980s. “You see,” he explained, “the spirits who cared for us have died, and now we are dying also.”
I wanted to reach right through the TV screen and say to him, “No! It isn’t true. Cultures as ancient as yours turned to a supreme eternal Spirit whose love and care sustained them through wars and drought and famine. Their histories describe an all powerful wise God that directed them to safety and sufficient resources.”
In our times, too, prayer-inspired activism has brought humanitarian relief – witness people rising up to feed and shelter refugees in many countries, and nations politically opposed to each other stepping up to help the other after natural disasters. This moral and spiritual force originates in God, which Christian Science defines as the perfect Principle governing the universe with justice, the all-loving intelligence that creates and blesses all equally. This omnipotent Love, when expressed and felt by individuals, overwhelms fear and the lust for power that underlie so much suffering. It redeems people from behaviors that are foreign to their true status as the offspring of God.
The prayers and works of Christ Jesus recorded in the Bible showed that people aren’t helpless victims of material forces. “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” he said (John 8:32). The truth is that every child, man, and woman are spiritual beings sustained by the one Spirit. This truth is powerful to set us free from every unjust material limitation.