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A CHRISTIAN SCIENCE PERSPECTIVE
Seeing and being seen – spiritually
Sometimes it can seem that masks can hamper our ability to have meaningful interactions with one another. But we all have a God-given ability to connect with, love, and help others – even when our faces are covered.
May 27, 2021
By Tressie Armstrong
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I was beginning to feel weary every time I went out in public and had to put on a mask because of the pandemic. While willing to comply with the rules, I love people’s faces; their expressions make it easy to “read” them before a single word is even spoken. And I was missing that.
Then I started thinking about how Jesus interacted with and healed others. His ability to read people’s needs did not depend on even one iota of physical awareness. For example, once Jesus and his disciples were passing through a large crowd that included a very ill woman, who thought, “If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole” (Matthew 9:21, King James 2000). Jesus discerned her need for healing without physically seeing her amid the throngs of people, asking, “Who touched me?” (Luke 8:45, KJ 2000).
Jesus’ ability to heal was independent of matter. He didn’t have to sit with the woman and have a long conversation, or administer drugs, or touch her. Through spiritual sense, he felt her presence and discerned both her need and her faith, and his understanding of her true status as a loved child of God healed her.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, “What is termed material sense can report only a mortal temporary sense of things, whereas spiritual sense can bear witness only to Truth....
“Spiritual sense, contradicting the material senses, involves intuition, hope, faith, understanding, fruition, reality” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 298).
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So, is it important to be able to see behind a physical mask to be able to connect with and love another human being? To be sure, seeing the beauty of each individual face is always pleasant. However, to really connect with someone, we can rely on spiritual intuition. We can listen for the angel messages, God’s thoughts, that tell us what we need to know about someone to be able to feel a connection with them, and especially to help and comfort them if needed.
Science and Health explains angels this way: “Angels are not etherealized human beings, evolving animal qualities in their wings; but they are celestial visitants, flying on spiritual, not material, pinions. Angels are pure thoughts from God, winged with Truth and Love, no matter what their individualism may be” (p. 298). We can connect with others spiritually by letting God’s angel thoughts guide us.
One day I was leaving the grocery store, thinking about how God, good, is naturally expressed and felt by everyone, including those we meet. I felt peaceful. As I passed a woman entering the store, I looked at her from behind my mask and said, “I’m smiling under here.” She responded, “I know. I can feel it!” I just loved that. I felt such joy that divine Love can permeate any seeming barrier in all situations.
What is required of us for this to occur? We need to really open our heart and thought to the fact that each individual is a direct reflection and manifestation of God. We must express grace, kindness, and – above all – compassion to be truly open to another’s needs. We have to see others as expressions of the one good, all-loving God. We can do this by quieting matter-based thinking to hear those angel messages that are revealing the true, spiritual identity of each individual we meet.
In South Africa, there is a common greeting of “Sawabona,” which translates to “I see you.” The response is “Sikhona,” meaning “I am here.” What a beautiful way of recognizing and validating each other! Whether or not masks are covering our faces, we are visible to God and each other spiritually. The goodness of God’s grace and love, and our reflection of these qualities as God’s offspring, simply cannot be masked or hidden.
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Now when I go out, I know I can look beyond the mask to the child of God that is always discernible. I can meet people very deeply this way, and it doesn’t require full visibility of their face or mine. So when wearing a mask, I continue to smile whenever I meet someone, and I know they can feel it even if they can’t see it.
God is ever present, eternal, infinite, and all-power. Each day we can pray to see others and to be seen as God knows each of us. Let’s all wear – on our faces and in our hearts – kindness, gentleness, and pure motives. Then nothing will be able to block the spiritual radiance shining from each of us in every moment.
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