Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Immunization for All ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Immunization for All ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Article excerpt

The shortage of flu vaccine has been in the news, and the other day it was the lead story on the radio. Many places that were scheduled to provide the vaccine have canceled their programs due to the shortage.

I'll have to say, though, that at the supermarket, people were much calmer than the reporters I heard on the radio. At the store some people agreed that the shots are helpful for some individuals, but that after getting them last year some still came down with the flu. So, they were concerned but not afraid.

I wish the radio reporter had been at the supermarket. Of course the media need to cover a story that affects the welfare of so many people and raises questions about the reasons for the shortage. But it's unfortunate that much coverage conveys hysteria.

This year many news magazines have had features that have looked into the mind-body connection in dealing with illness. There's a growing consensus that the state of one's mind can have a direct impact on one's health in both a positive and negative direction. Consequently, fanning the flames of fear is not wise.

Public policy requires that remaining supplies be given to those who seem most vulnerable. But what about the rest of us? Is there anything else that can be done?

Going back to the mind-body concept, what can we do to be mentally stronger or less vulnerable to sickness? Few are going to believe that sheer willpower can ward off sickness. But some people have started to raise the question, What is the divine will? Is there a spiritual force or factor that could keep us safe?

Many people turn to God in prayer when they are ill. But can we turn to God before this and ask to be kept free from getting sick?

It's always interesting to see what guidance the Bible offers on questions such as these. A notable part of Jesus' work, for example, was healing the sick. It's hard to escape the conclusion that he deliberately challenged the power of sickness over men, women, and children. If people were ill, as his disciple Peter's mother-in-law once was when she was suffering from a fever, he came to them and healed them. …

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