I’ve been strongly influenced by Christian Science—not so much as a religion, but as a spiritual approach to life. Through it, I’ve experienced how thought really can shape and change human situations. Why? Because there is a God—a God that to my way of thinking is a law of principle and love and goodness, operating through thought. Just a glimmer—just a moment—of mental receptiveness to this law brightens a very dark mindset, and as a consequence can effect change.
Where is God… in a moment of desperation?
Anatomy of a prayer
From the July 30, 2001 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel
It was a cold January day in 1996, during a lull in the war between Russia and its southern breakaway republic of Chechnya. I was trying to enter Chechnya on a newspaper reporting trip for the Baltimore Sun. At the tiny airport we’d flown into, my colleague and I hired a driver to take us a few miles to a Chechen village at the base of the towering Caucasus mountain range.
The snowy country road was spotted with the scorch marks and burned-out vehicles of recent war violence. As we rounded a bend, we could see a Russian roadblock about 100 yards away—an armored personnel carrier and a tank with its gun barrel pointed in our direction. This wasn’t unusual in a war zone, but our driver’s reaction couldn’t have been worse. He panicked and tried to make a run for it by spinning into a U-turn that took us rumbling over the roadside shoulders that were often mined. His move was a red flag of suspicious behavior to the Russians.
Only weeks before, I’d explained the Mother concept of God to a devout Russian Orthodox friend. She’d surprised me because, having never heard of such a tender way of thinking about God, she wept. Her response really affected me and made me ponder and appreciate afresh the concept of God as Mother—an intimate and gentle force for good in thought.
I just rolled the concept over and over in my mind as I looked at the soldiers—soft-faced boys, really, behind the grime and fear and doubt about their role in the war. Though armed and clearly dangerous, they were, I reasoned, children of mothers, spiritual beings governed by the law of love and goodness that is God. Just as they could respond to and even exhibit mother-love, they could respond to God’s love. And likewise, so could I. Every time a doubt would enter my thought—and it did repeatedly—I would ratchet up this spiritual reasoning.
While we weren’t allowed by the Russians to go any further into Chechnya that day, we were freed after a half hour, unpunished for our driver’s suspicious behavior; and unmolested. I was still able—through other means—to complete the article I’d been sent there to do.