Many years ago I was asked by the London County Council, which was responsible for educating the children in inner London, if I would be willing to teach the youngest class in a school for “deprived” children. These youngsters were in the care of the state because their families had broken up. They lived in small cottages on an estate south of London, and they attended the school on the same campus every day. I accepted the position, but I found it very demanding and challenging.
I used the commute to work each day as an opportunity to pray to see these kids not as deprived of good, but as the loved children of God, as I’ve learned in Christian Science. I affirmed that they could be governed only by God’s law of harmony and were fully capable of expressing qualities that have their source in God, such as humility, joy, and intelligence. The Bible shows that Christ Jesus loved and respected children. The Gospel of Matthew tells us that when people brought children to the Master to be blessed by him, the disciples rebuked them, but Jesus responded, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (19:14). So as a modern-day disciple of Christ, I also needed to see my pupils in the light of Truth.
The first few weeks in my classroom were pretty chaotic. I had to speak over a cacophony of voices to get the children’s attention so that they could learn the simplest lessons, including basic manners such as respecting each other’s space. Instead of dwelling on their shortcomings, though, I began to see the potential that each one of my pupils had, just as in nature each bud has within itself the ability to open up and show its full beauty. Eventually they learned how to write their own names, which helped them better understand that they had their own unique identity and individuality. When it took one sweet little girl nearly a year to be able to write her name, the day she wrote it the whole class rejoiced with her in the accomplishment. Her smile that day was unforgettable! The children’s best efforts in writing and drawing soon found their way to a large notice board, where they were displayed with well-earned stars beside them.
While teaching these boys and girls numeracy and literacy, I myself was learning how to demonstrate “growth in grace”! Mary Baker Eddy wrote in her textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds” (p. 4). This was helpful guidance for me in teaching these youngsters.
There are too many families these days that, through no fault of their own, get caught up in circumstances beyond their control. They often flee their homes and become refugees in countries with different languages, customs, and habits. In these instances, families show great resilience in the face of adversity, but it is often the children who need the most support.
We can hold the families in our prayers as we grasp more clearly ourselves what it means to be citizens in God’s kingdom, where there are no borders, barriers, or restrictions on man’s well-being. We know from the Bible narrative that Jesus himself had no fixed address. When someone wanted to follow him once, he said simply, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). It seems that Jesus felt equally at home with friends on a fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee as he did alone with God, his Father, at the top of a mountain while deep in prayer. Jesus demonstrated that home is naturally supplied by God according to our need.
The sooner we recognize God as the Father-Mother of everyone, the sooner God’s kingdom will be recognized here on earth.
The Master taught us that God is our Father, too. The Lord’s Prayer begins, “Our Father which art in heaven” (Matthew 6:9). The more I’ve prayed with the Lord’s Prayer and grown in my understanding of its spiritual meaning, the more clearly I’ve seen that we are all brothers and sisters, equally loved and cherished by our Father, in the kingdom of heaven—which is right here, right now. The sooner we recognize God as the Father-Mother of everyone—a recognition that inspires brotherhood and neighborly love—the sooner God’s kingdom will be recognized here on earth in our neighborhoods and countries. Science and Health states, “Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation” (p. 332).
By the way, I went on to teach for two years in that county school. While the children were learning their basic lessons, I was learning the basic but important lesson of how to pray on the go, moment by moment. This lesson proved foundational in the years following when I started my healing ministry as a full-time practitioner of Christian Science.
Mary Baker Eddy has set us a high goal: “The Christian Scientist has enlisted to lessen evil, disease, and death; and he will overcome them by understanding their nothingness and the allness of God, or good” (Science and Health, p. 450). Let us light a special candle in our hearts for the children of the world. Let’s have enough empathy to see their needs and enough love to help them achieve their full potential as children of God.
Interested in more more Journal content?
Subscribe to JSH-Online to access The Christian Science Journal, along with the Christian Science Sentinel and The Herald of Christian Science. Find the current issues, the searchable archive, podcasts, audio for articles, biographies about Mary Baker Eddy, and more.