I recall a poster years ago with meerkats standing together, all but one looking in the same direction. I believe the poster was captioned BE A LERT. The Urban Dictionary defines “lert” as “a small furry woodland creature whose senses are always very intensely attuned to its surroundings.” In actuality, there is no “lert.” Therefore, be alert that you will be challenged if you play this word in the game Scrabble.
By-the-way, meerkats are found in southern Africa, living in large numbers in deserts and grasslands. Although keenly alert and comparatively cute, these small intelligent mongooses aren’t cuddly creatures. In fact, evidently, these pointy-faced, bushy ground dwellers are vicious little mammals, which surprisingly don’t drink water and are immune to venom. (www.natgeokids.com ) If you’re in the region, be alert – don’t play with them or adopt one for a pet!
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary includes these definitions of “alert” as an adjective: 1) watchful and prompt to meet danger or an emergency; 2) quick to perceive and act; 3) active, brisk. And, as a noun: 1) a state of careful watching and readiness especially for danger or opportunity; 2) an alarm or other signal of danger, an urgent notice; 3) the period during which an alert is in effect. Also, as a verb: 1) to call (someone) to a state of readiness, warn; 2) to make (someone) aware of something.
Recently, a longtime friend called me. We chatted about being alert, particularly related to email and social media, regarding people who are trolling, stalking and phishing. On a positive note, she also suggested that folks should leave comments (hopefully supportive ones) when reading the postings such as these blogs on Wide Horizon’s Facebook page or Instagram. When it comes to email and social media, or even blogs, be alert every day, every moment when you can.
Christian Science nurses must be alert in their work to do it effectively. To witness spiritual healing, they strive to see God’s perfect man – male and female made in Spirit’s image and likeness. Their thought must maintain an altitude of heavenly inspiration to behold true spiritual identity. They should be cheerful and orderly, and they must practice patience in order to minister unto patients. Most importantly, Christian Science nurses should be “full of faith, – receptive to Truth and Love.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 395)
For a member of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, being alert is essential to effectively practicing Christian Science. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, included an important by-law in the Church Manual, on page 42:
“Alertness to Duty. SECT. 6. It shall be the duty of every member of this Church to defend himself daily against aggressive mental suggestion, and not be made to forget nor to neglect his duty to God, to his Leader, and to mankind. By his works he shall be judged, — and justified or condemned.”
This by-law, this duty, means a great deal to the sincere student of Christian Science, as it’s one of many statements of guidance provided by Mrs. Eddy. It’s also a duty that is challenging to follow at times because forgetting and neglecting seem to be common to the human mind. Yet it’s essential to protect oneself as a practicing Christian Scientist. So, it’s imperative to have one Mind – to let that Mind be in you as was in Christ Jesus – and to see man as the reflection of this perfect Mind. Jesus knew God as the heavenly Father of all. It’s up to each of us to perform our duty to obey God, follow our Leader as she followed Christ, and to love mankind. This daily mental activity is truly being alert.
As an aside, although I’ve never played one, perhaps like many of you, I’ve had to learn to be more alert to the erroneous influences of shamefully violent video games – particularly those like Apex, Bulletstorm, Call of Duty, Counter Strike, Fortnite, Manhunt, Mortal Combat (the list via an online search is sadly a lot longer). Too many males are seemingly hypnotically obsessed and even addicted to these games – sitting hours on end, often in the dark, oftentimes connected to other gamers, totaling the highest number of body counts, in this mind-numbing anti-activity. Unfortunately, this is only one of many areas in modern society that require the active attention and alertness of sincere students of Christian Science.
Therefore, we need to be keenly alert! We need to be watchful. We need to pray. We need to see God’s spiritual man made in His image and likeness. We need to defend ourselves against aggressive mental suggestions so we can minister unto others from the holy basis of Christ, Truth. And, we can’t do this very effectively if we react, if we forget, or if we neglect our duty to God – to love God and love one another. To love another as Love’s true spiritual reflection of Spirit. Yet, the import of such alertness is to bless all mankind – male and female, children and adults – and injure no man, woman or child. So, let’s be more alert to the ministrations of divine Love which will positively influence and heal all mankind and the world. Let us join in this holy ministry of Love!
Scripture states from the book of Jeremiah (23:24), “Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.” Do we believe God, Good, has filled all the heavens and is throughout all the earth? Are we alert to this truth? If we are, our prayerful work will be blessed. Our lives will bless those we love – family, friend and stranger. And, in the words of Habakkuk (2:14), we will alertly behold that indeed, “…the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”
So, don’t “be a lert”; instead, be spiritually watchful and actively alert!
D. Brian Boettiger