Keeping Pace with God
Geith A. Plimmer, London, England
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Letting your life "keep pace with God" was the theme of a lecture given by Geith A. Plimmer in Boston on Thursday evening (April 21). Using Moses as an example, Mr. Plimmer said, "The Christ will show you, as it showed Moses, how to walk step by step with divine wisdom." He went on to say, "Best of all, you will begin to experience the power of God to compel evil of every kind to pass over your life, and leave you free." Mr. Plimmer included in the talk instances of Christian Science healing from his own experience.
A member of The Christian Science Board of Lectureship, Mr. Plimmer spoke in The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.
Mr. Plimmer, was brought up and educated in Australia and New Zealand. He taught in schools in the British Commonwealth until 1934 when he began to devote his full time to the healing ministry of Christian Science. Since 1961 he has lectured all over the world on Christian Science.
"Keeping Pace With God" was the title of his lecture. He was introduced by Merelice England of Brookline, Massachusetts.
An abridged text of his lecture follows:
If you suddenly saw a bush burning with a lovely flame of fire for no apparent reason and just keep on burning brightly without ever burning anything up - would you stop and investigate? Or would you go indifferently by, as if you couldn't care less? Fortunately for humanity, under just such circumstances, Moses, the great Hebrew leader, stopped and said, "I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt." And then the Bible says significantly, "And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses" (Ex. 3:3, 4).
Just think of the privilege of being called by your own name like that by God, because you were willing to turn aside from the old, and ask a question about the new!
Nonetheless, when Moses answered rather self-confidently, "Here am I," the divine voice immediately said to that human will of his, "Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground" (Ex. 3:5).
Now maybe even as early as this, Moses began to see the answer to his question as to why the bush was not burnt. Obviously divine Truth was about to teach and enlighten him. So this flame of fire was a symbol of learning rather than of burning, wasn't it? - of instruction rather than destruction?
Yes, God was virtually saying to Moses, "There's a higher wisdom here than yours. You don't set the pace for things. I, divine Truth and Love, alone do this. 'I AM THAT I AM,' (Ex. 3:14) which presents the truth of being and the answer to every need. Now take those shoes off your feet; and stop planning your own next steps. You are on, holy ground. You are in the presence of divine intelligence. Only the divine can save the human."
Humbled by this rebuke of his human will, Moses asked falteringly, "Who am I [then] . . . that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?" (Ex. 3:11). "Who am I?''
- Moses realized now his need of more instruction about his true identity and relation to God.
"Certainly I will be with thee" (Ex. 3:12) God quickly promised him. As much as to say
"I AM really that I am of yours, since I am the creator of all identities. That's how my presence shall go with you, and I will give you (and your human will) permanent rest."
Quite right - Moses had been self-willed for years, but Christian Science would have you notice something rather special here about God - the flame of divine Love didn't of itself burn up that self-will of Moses.
No! As you study the divine Mind's winning education of Moses that holy day at the burning bush, you will notice Moses interjecting less and less human rationalism between himself and God. Why? Because he was consenting of his own accord to the supremacy of God's good will as the only really trustworthy will.
This wonderful healing was the result of what is known in Christian Science as the Christ. This Christ is the spirit of the one I AM, which is always at work in human consciousness preparing people to recognize divine revelation.
And all without a burn - not even heart-burn for Moses because God compensated his surrender of human will with a priceless art: the art of fitting the footsteps of his human obedience into the footprints of divine guidance, so that what was planned in heaven would really be fulfilled on earth.
Now Moses' first great victory under this new wisdom was the marvelous deliverance of the Hebrews from their slavery in Egypt. No wonder it was celebrated by a feast of dedication, with one of the sweetest names in the whole vocabulary of divine redemption, the Feast of the Passover. It was given this beautiful name, because, on the night of their exodus from Egypt, the protecting power of divine Love compelled the threat of death to pass over the Israelites, so that, not a single life was lost.
But I'm not telling you about Moses and the Passover tonight to involve you in his pace-keeping with God. Not at all! I'm telling you about him because, through his example, Christian Science can help you to lay aside your human will, the better to hear God calling you by name from the burning bush of divine Love inevitably in everyone's life. From there, the Christ will show you, as it showed Moses, how to walk step by step with divine wisdom. Best of all, you will begin to experience the power of God to compel evil of every kind to pass over your life, and leave you free.
In my own case, after being a devoted orthodox Christian for many years, I became a Christian Scientist entirely through this type of "Passover."
Let me explain. A friend of mine had been condemned to death by medical law. But through Christian Science she learned that disease is terminal to itself, not to man or life. So death was compelled to pass over her. The disease was gone like a dream, and the woman was free.
Thank God my inquisitiveness was stirred. And why not? Indifference to signs of God's love is a deadly sin. Like Moses, I said, "I must now turn aside from my conventional religious thinking and see this great sight, how a woman in the 20th century can be quickly healed of a fatal disease by spiritual means alone!"
This meant my studying diligently the two books whose teachings had healed this woman. Here they are, my best friends ever since: the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy.
I have thanked God a thousand times since, that I had the spiritual enterprise to turn aside from my conventional religious life, and read this inspired book from cover to cover.
And why not? This book is as powerless to hurt anyone's religious life as the flame of divine Love was powerless to hurt that bush. Like that educational flame, however, this book may compel changes. And who's afraid of them, when they show you that you and God are on the same side, and you therefore have dominion over all sin and sickness?
Christian Science was a fresh revelation to me, and just what my Christianity needed. I discovered that Science and Health contains the complete technology of Christ - yes, the know-how, the spiritual laws, the divine methods by which our Lord healed.
And so it was that as I studied the Bible and Science and Health together that first year, the healing power of their divine message compelled smoking and drinking, sullenness and moodiness, fever and sickness to pass over and clean out of my life as ungodly, unnecessary, and unmanly. Prior to this, I hadn't the faintest idea that Passover protection is inevitable in the lives of all who learn to walk and talk with God.
Then, one precious day, some three years later, exact instruction came to me from the Christ, Truth, as to how to fit the footsteps of my human obedience, like Moses, into the footprints of divine guidance. May I share my experience with you?
At a time when there were three million unemployed in Britain I felt it would be progress for me to go there from Australia. My professor agreed to help me find employment and I had a relative there as well. So, like Moses, I felt pretty safe about my own planning of my human footsteps - but in the same week, my professor suddenly died and my relative left England.
Was I now to go forward? All the human props were gone. It seemed foolish and dangerous to go ahead. Much humbled, I knew I needed guidance from God, whom Christian Science shows to be the I AM THAT I AM of everyone's life. I didn't realize it, but the Christ was making me change into Passover shoes!
In my study of Christian Science that week, I read in the Bible that Jesus told 10 lepers to show themselves to the priests as healed, when they still had leprosy on their bodies; and behold, as they went unhealed, they were healed (Luke 17:12-14). The Christian Science textbook then explained to me that health in man is a quality of God, and that faith in this truth can lift disease clean away.
Suddenly, and I say it with due modesty, the voice of God in the burning bush became to me the voice of God in this illuminated Scripture. It said quite clearly; "Go to England, despite all the leprous evidences of little money, no work, no friends, and no home there. Hang on tight to My divine provision for you, and by faith and understanding, you'll be healed of your problems, like the trustful lepers." Into these invisible footprints of divine guidance, I now wonderingly fitted the footsteps of my faith.
For six weeks on board ship, I practiced our Master's wonderful prayer of faith, "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me" (John 11:41). Yes, I thanked God generously every day that employment, home, companionship, and supply are all part of the kingdom of heaven in man, and that no economic law can prevent people from having the benefit of them.
Conditions in England were devastatingly severe, but in spite of them, I kept in pace with God by employing every bit of His courage, kindness, honesty, and thankfulness I could. Correspondingly, I refused persistently to give employment to self-condemnation, fear, and, self-pity. Why? Because you can't keep pace with God by getting into step with human limitations at the same time.
Six weeks later, with only five bank notes now left, and the situation looking more desperate than ever, the same law that lifted ill-health off those 10 lepers suddenly compelled the threat of economic disaster to pass over and out of my life; and there appeared work for which I was fitted, wages which were livable, a warm home in a bitter winter, and friends beyond number, right where none of these blessings seemed even remotely possible.
Now I'd learned there's a provable divine Science back of even the simplest Scripture. Prior to this I used to think vaguely of walking with God in the footsteps of the Master. But now I'd learned how to fit the footsteps of my thoughts into the spiritual propositions of our Lord's truth, and prove them true. This was a great advance. Here was Passover scientifically produced by my own obedience to God. This was like Moses exchanging bondage in Egypt for freedom in the Promised Land.
The significant thing, of course, is that in Moses' Passover no one was even allowed to wait for his bread to leaven, that momentous night of emancipation from slavery. “Thus;
shall ye eat (the Passover)”, declared Moses, "with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste" (Ex. .12:11). You can see the secret of it, can't you? - it is readiness to keep pace with God. Why? Because divine revelation is always on the move, and we must keep in pace.
Freedom from the threat of death was obviously merely a beginning. Many other freedoms would have to be established through further proofs of the Passover before man could be wholly free. For instance, what about sin and disease? The very limitation of the first Passover clearly indicates that divine revelation would be on the move again and people would need to move with it to benefit from new freedoms to come in later Passovers.
You notice the shoes on the feet. These weren't the "stride-abouts" of human will which Moses discarded. Oh, no - these shoes symbolized willingness to walk with God. We might say they were custom-made by the Christ. Perhaps this is why Moses could later say, according to the New English Bible, "I led you forty years in the wilderness; your clothes did not wear out . . . nor did your sandals wear out and fall off your feet" (Deut. 29:5).
In the present instance, where did the children of Israel move forward to? Another more comfortable part of Egypt? Oh, no! Into the wilderness, that's where! But why a wilderness? Because it's the best training-ground for pace-keepers with Spirit, not matter. Here, there's nothing to be looked to as savior but God, infinite, ever-present Spirit.
Here, you cease snatching frantically for money and medicine, persons and things, and begin instead to stretch out your helpless hands to what's the best of everything from the beginning, as I learned in London - namely, God, His kingdom within, and the power of His Christ to bring its blessings into human evidence.
Mary Baker Eddy, the courageous Discoverer of Christian Science, understood this only too well. It was in the wilderness that she learned that matter is nothing but an untrustworthy image of thought, and that reality is spiritual.
Mrs. Eddy defines "wilderness" as "Loneliness; doubt; darkness." It certainly seems that way at first. But be of good cheer! She then puts a period - a full stop, as the British say. Dear strugglers, you please do the same! Put a full stop to your loneliness, doubt, and darkness. You are on holier ground than you realize. Hasten to divine Love's idea of wilderness for you. And here it is: "Spontaneity of thought and idea; the vestibule in which a material sense of things disappears, and spiritual sense unfolds the great facts of existence" (Science and Health, p. 597).
It's quite true - throughout their wilderness years, two great facts of existence did unfold to the Israelites: first, that God's love is universal, not partial; and second, that one day God would send His Son as Christ and Saviour to prove the universality of His love.
From the standpoint of this great new freedom, have you ever wondered why Jesus Christ, when he came as that Redeemer and Saviour, deliberately chose the anniversary of the original Passover as the occasion to take bread and cup and wine to institute a new form for it? Was the Passover idea itself developing, and Jesus keeping pace with it?
Let's, all see - Moses' first Passover in Egypt was special to the Hebrews only; but now here at Jerusalem, Jesus' Passover was to celebrate that all God's children are special to Him; here, all are free to be free! Isn't this a sign that the Passover itself was again on the move? Weren't more limitations now being compelled to pass over and away from mankind?
It certainly looks that way! And there's another point - in the first Passover, death was merely avoided, but in the second Passover, known as Holy Communion or Holy Eucharist, death wasn't avoided at all; it was confronted, and conquered by Jesus for all men's sakes.
Then wouldn't you agree? Wasn't it right for the Passover to have a more mature outward form, to mark this marvelous second stage of its development? Of course it was; The Passover was on the move; and there was Jesus Christ ready with staff in hand to keep pace with it. He didn't develop it; it developed him. That bread of truth, that cup of endurance, and that wine of God-inspired love fed him for years with such developing strength that in his resurrection and ascension he finally proved death and hatred unreal and untrue for all men's sakes.
Then why did so few people leap forward in the pace-keeping spirit of the first Passover under Moses, to celebrate the far greater freedom of the second Passover instituted by the Son of God?
The explanation of the people's reluctant response in our Lord's time is full of enormous import to the 20th century, because as I hope to show you soon, the third and final development of the Passover is already upon us, and who wants the tragic indifference of the Jews to the second Passover to repeat itself in the Christian's response to the third Passover?
Yes, I regret to open your eyes to error, but this is necessary. Development has a suppositional opponent - envelopment. Here the 20th century needs to be awake and watchful. To "develop" means to "unwrap"; but "envelop" has a sly, furtive meaning - to "wrap up."
Yes, Jesus' indifferent reception shows that public teachers are often induced by fear to envelop their people in old ecclesiastical loyalties, just when divine revelation is calling them forward to new views of His protective love.
How rightly the Christian Science textbook says on its very first page, "The time for thinkers has come" (Science and Health, Pref. vii). Does that mean that the time has come for doctors and ministers, psychiatrists and sociologists, to think for you? No - it means that the time has come for each of you to think for yourselves.
The Bible names Christ "high priest of good things to come" (Heb. 9:11), doesn't it!
Isn't it sensible to ask ourselves then, did Jesus Christ himself point to any divine development to come after him, which we should be ready with staff in hand to turn aside and see?
The answer is an enthusiastic, "Yes - many times over!" Jesus himself showed clearly that revelation would be on the move again one day, and he warned us all to be awake, even at midnight, to move forward with its coming, each with a lamp filled with oil.
I now submit that the good things of Christ which were to come have come. In accord with our Master's own prayers, all his words and works are now brought to remembrance. The gospel of Jesus has developed into the Science of the Christ. The Passover has been on the move again. And this time the wakeful watcher is a woman, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
In an article entitled "Emergence into Light, "she writes, "The trend of human life was too eventful to leave me undisturbed in the illusion that this so-called life could be a real and abiding rest." She later adds, "Thus it was when the moment arrived of the heart's bridal to more spiritual existence. When the door opened, I was waiting and watching: and, lo, the bridegroom came! The character of the Christ was illuminated by the midnight torches of Spirit. My heart knew Its Redeemer." Mrs. Eddy concludes, "I had touched the hem of Christian Science" ("Retrospection and Introspection," p. 23).
You can imagine her wonder, can't you, when she discovered that Jesus himself had already provided for the third form of the Passover to celebrate the marvelous discovery she had made of the divine Science by which his resurrection and ascension were achieved.
And so the original feast of the Passover now emerges through its second form, the Holy Communion, into its third and loveliest form, the morning meal.
John relates the story of this wonderful meal in his Gospel.
Peter and six other disciples had gone fishing, but they had caught nothing all night. Jesus said unto them, ''Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find" (John 21:6).
And they did find! There was a tremendous intake! Meanwhile, the risen Jesus had prepared for them the simple meal that stood for so much more than any breakfast ever had before.
Of the disciples' experience that morning Mrs. Eddy writes, "Discerning Christ, Truth, anew on the shore of time, they were enabled to rise somewhat from mortal sensuousness, or the burial of mind in matter, into newness of life as Spirit." She continues, "This spiritual meeting with our Lord in the dawn of a new light is the morning meal which Christian Scientists commemorate. They bow before Christ, Truth, to receive more of his reappearing and silently to commune with the divine Principle, Love" (Science and Health, p. 35).
There isn't any question: Christ Jesus always meant us all to keep pace with his resurrection and share his resurrection benefits.
"Come and dine," he said (John 21:12).
"Come and dine," he's still saying. "Dine on the universal freedoms of my resurrection glory."
This let me now illustrate to you in practical terms.
Some years ago, I was helping a man through prayer in Christian Science. He was having a fearful struggle, which, I'm ashamed to say, finally reduced me to a similar struggle. It looked as if we were both involved in a sad Last Supper!
Suddenly, I woke up. "Why, you're treating this man to get through a painful experience of crucifixion," I said to myself, "when Christ is already risen for all humanity's sake! Now get your practice of religion up to date," I said to myself. "You must bring out in this man's experience the glory of the resurrection. Stop treating him as a sheep come to the slaughter, and feed him instead as One of Christ's sheep, at the morning meal of man's proved dominion over mortality."
This so changed my thought, that I said aloud to the evil; "Now, you devil, this fellow may look to you like a mortal, but in the reality of his being he's an idea of God, spiritual and immortal. In his resurrection, Jesus Christ proved all your physical theories null and void. So you just get off this man's back now, and stop using his body to advertise your obsolete lies of pain and torment."
You can see what happened, can't you? My prayer moved instantly from Eucharist to morning meal; that is, from sorrow to joy, from cross to crown, from suffering to health. Here I came in pace with the full appearing of the Holy Ghost, and fitted my mental footsteps into the footprints of our Master's immortality! So I recognized man ascendant, man in divine Science, man as perfect as his Father, totally unsubject to sin, disease, or death. That truth broke the error, and set the sufferer free.
But our Master also said at the morning meal, "Feed my lambs" (John 21:15). Few people think of teen-agers these days as Christ's Iambs, but it's just what they are in Truth.
A few years ago a young Christian Scientist was sick nigh unto death. The Christian Science practitioner discerned that this young lady had been living as if she were a private development, assisted by an attachable God.
Christian Science showed her that this was a mistaken view - that she was herself spiritual, a divine development, that she was God's idea - that divine Mind was unwrapping His own life and strength and plans through her; that God had chosen her, and not she chosen God, and that spiritually they were as one as vine and branch.
The young lady quickly felt the divine Love underlying this oneness with God; she was ready for the change. She had the Passover staff in hand and shoes on her feet; and so she gradually accepted the ideas flowing from God as from Mind to idea, vine to branch, without break or division in between.
Christian Science wouldn't allow this precious lamb to be sacrificed on the altar of physiology.
When the practitioner first saw this teen-ager, it seemed quite unthinkable that she would ever do gymnastics again; but in a few weeks' time that is precisely what she was doing. She was healed physically, because she had been fed as one of Christ's lambs at the morning meal. Surely you will all agree with me that the ever-widening view of God's protection, celebrated by the three successive forms of the Passover, is a most wonderful sign of God's unfolding love for mankind. This evolving love represents steady progress for mankind from moral freedom through spiritual freedom, right up to scientific freedom for everyone.
Certainly the most mature form of that love today is provably the enjoyment of the Science of the Christ at the morning meal of the resurrection.
And so I would say this to my fellow Christians of all denominations, and Moses' followers who are still celebrating the first Passover. You and I didn't make a mistake in accepting the one God of Moses as the basis of our faith.
But you can see what happened during the evolution of the wider protection under the Second Passover. When the Messiah came, public teachers forced envelopment and restriction on the people when they should have encouraged development. All but a few lost pace with God through this sad resistance.
Then in the following centuries, some churchmen became afraid for the survival of infant Christianity, guardian of the second Passover. So they wrapped codes and creeds round it, much as an anxious gardener might put sticky paper round a bud to protect it. But now that precious bud on the stem of Jesse has gradually opened, because of the sunburst of divine Love thrown on it by Mary Baker Eddy's discovery of the Science of Christ.
Today, many find the old creeds losing their credibility and authority in human experience. Some are foolishly turning from the great I AM to humanism and astrology, to orientalism and occultism.
Christian Science pleads, "Don't do this; remain on your direct line with the one God. Far from deserting the bud on the stem of Jesse, why not keep pace with its developing blossom and inhale its healing fragrance? Why not be willing to blossom yourselves with its bloom? The provable divine Science of the one God is now revealed for all to enjoy and practice in the Christian Science textbook. Could there be a higher calling now for spiritually minded men and women than feeding Christ's lambs and sheep at the morning meal of spiritual perfection?"
So here's a new start for everyone.
All who have hitherto limped behind because of pebbles in their shoes against Moses, against the Messiah, or against Mary Baker Eddy, can now stoop humbly down and take them out.
This will enable each of us to be the religionists the great I AM THAT I AM always created us to be, glorifying Him by healing the sick, cleansing lepers, casting out demons, and raising the dead.
This one thing Christian Science can guarantee: Those who keep pace with God in this way will always hear His voice, reassuring them from the burning bush, "Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you . . . As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee nor forsake thee." Then will follow this ringing request to all who would, fit the footsteps of their understanding into the footprints of divine direction: "Only be thou strong and very courageous" (Joshua 1:3, 5, 7).