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We decided to pray about the topic reported in the April 25th/May 2nd, 2016 issue of The Christian Science Monitor: “The price isn’t right – how platinum housing prices are hollowing out the middle class in many large U.S. cities.” We had read much of the article and the editor’s summary of it at our last Monitor Forum. The editor, John Yemma, described it as follows: “Jessica Mendoza’s cover story examines what happens when diverse communities evolve into gentrified monocultures. Healthy cities need residents and workers of all races, ethnicities, skills, and incomes…City officials are now trying to protect urban diversity by backing affordable housing and providing home-loan assistance. These are necessary efforts to rebalance urban communities.” One example from the article of a problematic housing situation was a teacher who shares an apartment with two other adults in order to afford continuing to live in the neighborhood where she works. The article states, “The median home value in San Francisco now stands at $765,700 – 10 times the city’s median household income, according to the census. As of March, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment was $3,590 a month. With the median income in the city being $78,400 a year, this means the average household can end up spending as much as half its earnings on housing.” Clearly, this is a topic which could use our prayers!
We began our treatment of the issue by praying with a quote from that week’s Responsive Reading in My Bible Lesson: “They shall not build, and another inhabit…mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them” (Isaiah 65:22-23).
We addressed the community trend of people only wanting to be with others such as themselves, thus displacing diversity and thought of the recent inspirational talk held here at Broadview by Christine Irby Williams. The talk was titled, “Each individual must fill his own niche in time and eternity” (Retrospection and Introspection 70:18). We remembered that the word “must” indicates certainty and fact, so this statement from Mrs. Eddy’s writings affirms that we are all necessary and must be in our right place – no one can be undervalued or displaced because this would mean God, good is undervalued or displaced.
The article indicated that local laborers desire to live near their work, but that this isn’t always possible. So, we affirmed that God makes the necessary adjustments for space and place, supplying everyone with whatever is needed, since “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need” (Science and Health 494:10).
We also affirmed that the extreme swings in the housing market were not of God and therefore won’t last. As Mrs. Eddy writes, “Human concepts run in extremes; they are like the action of sickness, which is either an excess of action or not action enough; they are fallible; they are neither standards nor models” (Miscellaneous Writings 353:3). Our prayers must be in line with the true standard that would bring healing: “Christian Science makes no compromise with evil, sin, wrong, or imperfection, but maintains the perfect standard of truth and righteousness and joy” (Miscellany 41:16).
Lastly, we spiritualized the idea of home through a passage found in Mrs. Eddy’s writings, “Pilgrim on earth, thy home is heaven; stranger, thou art the guest of God” (Science and Health 254:31). This led us to hymn 278 in the Christian Science Hymnal, which is inspired by that same citation. The first verse reads:
Pilgrim on earth, home and heaven are within thee,
Heir of the ages and child of the day.
Cared for, watched over, beloved and protected,
Walk thou with courage each step of the way.
We are grateful for the opportunity to pray about this issue and to see more clearly the true reality of God’s mothering care for us, Her reflection. As always, we invite you to join us and to share your inspiration with us in the comments!