Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

True Independence on the Fourth of July ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

True Independence on the Fourth of July ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Article excerpt

In the United States, this July 4 is a day to celebrate 228 years of independence. Bands, speeches, and fireworks commemorate the national tradition, and have been part of the American landscape for a long time. It's a day for both patriotism and a lot of fun. This year, I'll be one of the thousands of people who celebrate it on the Mall in Washington, D.C.

In 1897, the day was celebrated in a different way for the 2,500 people who chose to gather at the Concord, New Hampshire home of Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper. There were local politicians present, but no bands or fireworks. In her welcoming remarks, Mrs. Eddy characteristically turned almost immediately from the expected patriotic words to an unexpected visionary statement on the possibilities for humankind through spiritualized thinking. She said: "To-day we commemorate not only our nation's civil and religious freedom, but a greater even, the liberty of the sons of God, the inalienable rights and radiant reality of Christianity, whereof our Master said: 'The works that I do shall he do;' and 'The kingdom of God cometh not with observation' (with knowledge obtained from the senses), but 'the kingdom of God is within you,' - within the present possibilities of mankind.

"Think of this inheritance! Heaven right here..." ("Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896," page 251).

The vision of "heaven right here" is breathtaking, because it transcends both patriotism and partisan politics. It goes beyond political, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic identity, and it presents a challenge to us today. It resonates not only for July 4, but for every day of the year.

This greater spiritual independence, the liberty of the sons and daughters of God, provides guidelines for me in this turbulent time of Iraq and the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, American political campaigning, or the latest convulsions in Venezuela or Sudan. …

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