Practical Christianity

 

Harry S. Smith, C.S.B., of Atlanta, Georgia

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts

 

Introduction

Lecture delivered in Tulsa Civic Center Assembly Hall Tuesday, September 8, 1964, under the auspices of Second Church of Christ, Scientist. Introduction by Mrs. Florence Lee Rheam, who said:

Good evening, Friends.

Second Church of Christ, Scientist, Tulsa, welcomes you tonight to hear a lecture on Christian Science.

Looking out at you, I see quite a contrast with an audience I faced once many years ago when I was fairly new in the study of Christian Science. I was conducting a fashion show, and 750 women were restless and disturbed because the show was late in starting. Some were leaving and many were complaining. I knew then that I was greatly in need of God's help. I left the platform to telephone a Christian Science practitioner to pray for me as we are taught to pray in Christian Science. Minutes later, when I returned to the platform, the atmosphere had completely changed. The women were no longer drifting out angrily. They were settling down in their chairs. Several even came up to ask me if they could help to get the clothes upstairs faster. Very soon the show started and was warmly applauded.

We are here tonight to learn more about the power and practicality of prayer in Christian Science. With us is a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts. The subject of his lecture on Christian Science is "Practical Christianity." May I present Harry S. Smith, of Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Smith.

 

The Lecture

The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:

Most of us like to consider ourselves as practical, or "down to earth," as the saying goes. We like to find practical answers to our everyday problems. When someone advances a new idea, we're apt to say, "Well, it sounds good, but is it practical?"

I wonder if you've ever thought about religion in this light. Have you ever seriously considered how religion may be practical? Or have you, like many, thought of the spiritual truths of the Bible as beautiful in theory, but scarcely useful or helpful for your everyday needs?

There's a great reaching out today for a source to which to we may turn for the answer to many problems. But mankind tends to seek the answers at the human level, forgetting the existence of a power above and beyond any human origin.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, has written in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," "Mystery does not enshroud Christ's teachings, and they are not theoretical and fragmentary, but practical and complete; and being practical and complete, they are not deprived of their essential vitality" (p. 98). Here's a challenge to the belief that we can't apply spiritual truths practically to current situations.

As a matter of fact, the very vitality, the very life, of these truths is made evident in our ability to use them in terms of our daily needs. When we accept spiritual truths as practical and useful, we are simply accepting the fact that the power of God is available today to heal, to guide, to protect, and to save. Every promise of good in the Scriptures is possible of present fulfillment.

The Bible records that many of the ancient prophets and patriarchs availed themselves of God's power. God told Moses, "Certainly I will be with thee" (Ex. 3-12). And this assurance supported Moses as he led the children of Israel out of bondage. David certainly knew God's protection in a very practical way when he overcame Goliath. Of such a victory, the Psalmist sang, "They that know thy name will put their trust in thee; for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee" (Ps. 9:10).

It was Christ Jesus who brought to mankind a practical understanding of the healing and saving power of God. This is what early Christianity meant. The practicality of Jesus' work lay in its application to every human condition. He healed the sick and raised the dead. He stilled the tempest and fed the multitude. Far more important to the ultimate salvation of mankind, he reformed the sinner. Jesus' mission wasn't alone the relief of suffering and sickness, but the full salvation of mankind. He came to demonstrate to mankind the Science of spiritual being, the spiritual truths of God, man, and the universe.

The same power which is indicated in the ancient Bible stories and which was so evident in the healing works of Christ Jesus is still available to us. There's no valid reason to believe otherwise.

How may we avail ourselves of the healing and saving power of practical Christianity, in every aspect of our living, as Jesus did? The primary purpose of this lecture is to answer this question in as simple and direct a manner as possible. We shall consider how we may turn to God in prayer for help in four specific and important areas of our human experience in finding true health, in gaining a clearer sense of guidance in our daily affairs, in overcoming fear, and in establishing better human relationships.

 

Knowledge of God and Man

Jesus restored health because he understood the true nature of God and of man as God's image and likeness. This enabled him to turn to God in prayer with absolute confidence. This communion with God was the basis of his healing and regenerating works. It is important then that we, too, gain such an understanding of God and man, in order that we may pray with the same absolute confidence that healing will result.

In Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy has given this definition: "GOD. The great I AM; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence" (p. 587). Here, God is named "Principle," a term not commonly used in this way. In Christian Science we recognize God, as He is described in the Bible, as "the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17). It is in this sense that we use the term "Principle" to denote God. He is unvarying, unerring, constantly and consistently the source of all good, and of nothing else. When we use the term "Principle" in this way, we aren't thinking of God as cold, inanimate, or passive, like a principle of mathematics, for example. Divine Principle is warm, alive, vital; it is ever-acting, doing right, imparting good, and expressing its unvarying perfection in man and the universe.

We also know God as infinite Spirit, all-knowing Mind, divine Love, immortal Soul, omnipotent Truth, and eternal Life. This understanding helps us to learn more of the true nature of man. We are told in the Bible that man is made in God's image and likeness. Now what is this true likeness? It is not to be found in a physical body. The likeness of Spirit must be spiritual. Then man's likeness to God is seen in the spiritually mental qualities which God gives to man, and which man embodies and expresses. The creation of all-knowing Mind expresses intelligence, wisdom, and sound judgment. The image of divine Love is loving and lovable. The expression of immortal Soul embodies grace, beauty, and purity. Omnipotent Truth imparts to its idea integrity, uprightness. Eternal Life gives to man vigor, freshness, and vitality.

Man, then, in his true identity as God's image and likeness, can embody and express only the qualities of God. He must be perfect, complete, whole, upright, free, immortal. The practical effect of recognizing our true identity is to release us from the restrictions imposed by a false sense of man as mortal and material. Then in place of sickness, disease, lack, imperfection, we gain the freedom which is rightfully man's as the image and likeness of God, eternal good.

This correct knowledge of God and man is actually the very basis of the healing prayer of Christian Science. In this prayer of spiritual understanding we don't plead with God to do something. We turn to Him confidently, affirming His allness and eternal goodness, and claiming our perfection as His beloved children.

As we do this, we begin to see the utter impossibility of anything unlike God ever being a part of man. As we realize the power, the All-power of God, good, we recognize the powerlessness of evil. As we understand that man is protected and sustained by divine Love, we overcome fear. As we prayerfully reason from the standpoint of God as Spirit and of man as God's spiritual idea, it follows logically that no condition of matter can possibly affect or influence man's health and well-being. In this way, we destroy in consciousness the belief of impairment in any form, and we replace it with the clear recognition of man's present and eternal wholeness.

 

Consciousness of the Christ

As we continue this prayer, we gain an absolute conviction of these spiritual facts. All belief in the existence of evil of whatever type or description is destroyed. There is only the presence of the Christ in consciousness.

What do we mean by the presence of the Christ in consciousness? Just what is the Christ? Christ is the eternal and unchanging manifestation of God. It is the assertion of God's truth, silencing every denial of this truth. It comes to human thought as the spiritual awareness of God and of man's unity with God as God's expression. This awareness is not the result of mere intellectual reasoning. It is spiritual knowing, the deep inner sense of the presence and power of infinite good. This spiritual knowing, this consciousness of the Christ, comes to us through understanding prayer, and its coming brings healing.

Jesus expressed the Christ in greater measure than anyone before or since, but Jesus and Christ are not synonymous terms, although frequently so used. Mrs. Eddy after referring to Jesus as a human name says, "On the other hand, Christ is not a name so much as the divine title of Jesus" (Science and Health, p. 333). She also writes in another place, "The Christ was Jesus' spiritual selfhood; therefore Christ existed prior to Jesus, who said, 'Before Abraham was, I am' " (Message for 1901, p. 8). The Christ has always existed. This was apparent to the ancient prophets and they healed by its power. Jesus and his followers healed by this same power. Now, this Christ is just as available today as it was then. We too can experience its healing and regenerating power. The more we strive to gain this consciousness of the Christ, and to express the Christ, the nearer we will approach the healing works of Jesus.

 

True Healing

Since healing is accomplished through a spiritually mental process, that is, through prayer and without any material remedies or treatment, how can such prayer heal a physical condition such as cancer, tuberculosis, heart trouble, or even a common cold?

Suppose we first consider the nature of disease. The common belief is that man has a material body which is subject to certain material conditions and changes. Popular opinion says that disease is a condition of this material body, and the body must be treated with material remedies to correct this condition. If this were true, all the right thinking we might do, all our praying would never cure a single case of disease. But in Science and Health we read: "Disease is always induced by a false sense mentally entertained, not destroyed. Disease is an image of thought externalized. The mental state is called a material state. Whatever is cherished in mortal mind as the physical condition is imaged forth on the body" (p. 411).

This isn't so far removed from today's medical theories as you might think. In recent years doctors have acknowledged more and more that there is a mental element in disease. Many of them concede that anger or stress may cause a headache, that hatred is a possible source of cancer, that worry and anxiety may result in ulcers. Why, just recently a California dentist said that tension and nervous irritation could cause dental cavities! But doctors have not yet admitted, except in limited degree, that the remedy also may be mental. So they continue to deal largely with matter and supposed remedies of a material nature.

The Christianly scientific approach to healing through prayer does not concern itself with matter. Recognizing disease to be wholly mental, it uses a spiritually mental remedy. It corrects the anger or stress, the hatred, the fear, or whatever has produced the disorder. This correction is accomplished through the prayer of spiritual understanding. When the cause of the sickness is removed, its apparent effect is destroyed too. And the healing is complete and permanent.

This is the same way that Jesus healed. He never worried over physical symptoms; he never asked a sick man what he had been eating, or whether he had been exposed to contagion. He healed through spiritual understanding, through the prayerful realization of the true identity of man as the image of God. The practicality of this approach was proved by the great healing work of the Master. It is also being proved today.

A friend of mine was stricken in his office one afternoon. Some years previously, while under medical treatment for a heart attack, he was hospitalized for some weeks. The symptoms he now experienced were quite similar. This time he called a Christian Science practitioner, who went at once to his office. The practitioner prayed with the man, both silently and audibly declaring his perfection as a child of God, and denying the material evidence, which seemed quite frightening. Soon the man's condition improved. By the time his wife arrived to take him home, he was able to go with her unassisted. Two days later he was back in his office completely well. This healing occurred several years ago.

 

Mrs. Eddy's Practical Application of Truth

Today, as in Jesus' time, the practicality of spiritual truths lies in their application, not only to physical discords, but to every other human situation. How practical are spiritual truths in bringing us to a clearer sense of guidance in our daily affairs? Often business men and women are confronted with difficult decisions. They feel the need of a higher sense of wisdom and good business judgment. They need to know when to move, and when to wait, when to say yes, and when to say no. The homemaker, too, has those moments when she wishes fervently for the wisdom of Solomon in raising her children or in managing her home.

The more successful we are in realizing the spiritual fact that God, all-knowing Mind, guides and directs His idea, man, the more certain we will be of eliminating mistakes or unwise actions.

God is divine Mind, the source of all wisdom and understanding, of all ability and judgment. We can affirm, through prayer, that man, as the image of God, is endowed with all that God has. Then we can confidently know that in reality we express in full measure the wisdom and understanding, the ability and sound judgment of this all-knowing Mind. We can accept the statement in Proverbs, "For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding" (Prov. 2:6). Realizing this to be a present, practical fact, we can turn unhesitatingly to God, divine Mind, for the necessary guidance and direction. This progressively eliminates the fear of mistakes, the sense of indecision, and the feeling of inability and inadequacy, for we are depending on divine Mind instead of on human intellect for our answers.

No matter what our human occupation is, we will find that this utilization of God's guidance in every human endeavor brings us a sense of confidence and assurance, and an ability to do things we thought we could never do.

Mrs. Eddy illustrated this in her own experience. After she discovered Christian Science and proved its efficacy in healing disease, she faced seemingly insurmountable problems in the organization of the Christian Science movement. Divinely guided, she displayed wisdom and ability that would have done credit to executives of far greater business background and experience than she possessed.

This is not to say that Mrs. Eddy's early academic education was in any way neglected. She was well prepared for teaching and other similar activities. But neither her early academic education, nor her activities before 1866, the year in which she discovered Christian Science, included any appreciable amount of business experience. So, from the human standpoint, she wasn't equipped through education or experience to cope with the many challenges which faced her as the Founder of Christian Science.

Yet, as Mrs. Eddy turned in prayer to God for guidance and direction, such important steps as the publishing of her books, the formation of the Church of Christ, Scientist, and the founding of the Christian Science periodicals, were all successfully accomplished.

In 1894 she called on her followers to build the original edifice of The Mother Church in Boston, Massachusetts. The United States was in the depths of a great financial depression, but under her divinely inspired leadership, lack and limitation were overcome, and the church was promptly built and fully paid for.

In her last great accomplishment, the founding of The Christian Science Monitor, Mrs. Eddy showed the same divinely inspired leadership which characterized her actions throughout the years. On August 10, 1908, she advised the Trustees of The Christian Science Publishing Society to start a daily newspaper. Just three and one-half months later, on November 25, the first issue of The Christian Science Monitor was published. Today, the Monitor is recognized as an outstanding international daily newspaper.

Basic to the growth of the Christian Science movement has been Mrs. Eddy's book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." The practical value of the spiritual truths contained in this book has been proven to countless thousands. In 1902 Mrs. Eddy added to Science and Health a final chapter which includes 100 pages of testimonies from those healed of tuberculosis, fibroid tumor, cataracts, cancer, and many other ailments. Others relate how freedom was gained from addiction to tobacco and alcohol, how business difficulties were met, how problems of human relationships were solved. All the healings related in this chapter came just through the thoughtful study of the book itself.

Mrs. Eddy tells us that she used the Bible as her only textbook in preparing herself to write Science and Health. Besides many references to the Bible, she has used over 750 direct quotations of Scriptural statements in Science and Health alone, not to mention her other writings. This in itself is evidence of her study of the Bible. It inseparably links together the Bible and Science and Health as the two textbooks of Christian Science.

William Dana Orcutt, although not a Christian Scientist, worked closely with Mrs. Eddy in the publishing of all her writings for nearly 20 years. In his volume "Mary Baker Eddy and Her Books" he has paid tribute to her abilities. He says, "Mrs. Eddy was a great executive, and would have been great in any vocation which she had elected to adopt. She chose the most difficult of all. It proved to be full of frustrations, yet each obstacle in being overcome seemed to contribute to this dauntless spirit additional strength with which to meet the next."

Mrs. Eddy was always ready to listen to the human advice and counsel of those around her, and she took full advantage of the business experience and judgment of her devoted followers who assisted her. But in the final analysis she guided the Christian Science movement through reliance on God, divine Mind, unerring Principle, as the source of wisdom, intelligence, and understanding, and she gave credit to God for her every accomplishment. In 1903 she wrote, "I claim no special merit of any kind. All that I am in reality, God has made me" (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 305).

Every aspect of Mrs. Eddy's life was marked with a perfect blending of the spiritual and the practical. The great human demands imposed on her in the development of the Christian Science movement never obscured for an instant the motive behind all her work to bring relief to suffering humanity. Her great love for mankind was evident in the compassion, tenderness, and self-forgetfulness she expressed, and in the healing work which she did. Her inspiring example is there for us to follow, in the application of this truth to every phase of our normal daily activity. Our need is to use the spiritual truths which are so readily available.

 

Overcoming Fear

In all our human difficulties, fear plays a very large part! Jesus in his time recognized the need to overcome and destroy fear. He saw that fear is a basic cause of all discord. Jesus himself never experienced fear, nor gave it power, but he had great compassion for those who were fearful, and he helped them overcome their fears. On many occasions he is quoted as saying, "Be not afraid," or "Fear not." How we need to obey this loving counsel today!

It is recorded that President James Garfield once remarked, "I have had many troubles in my life, but the worst of them never came." Isn't that a pretty good description of the state of thinking many of us find ourselves in today? Even when we don't have anything particular to be afraid of, there's a latent sense of insecurity or anxiety the fear of getting sick, of losing our job, fear for our safety, fear of the future, fear of being alone. Why, many people can't enjoy today for worrying about tomorrow!

Fear is an enemy to health and a deterrent to happiness and security. It destroys peace of mind and impedes progress. Mrs. Eddy has said, "A man's fear, unconquered, conquers him, in whatever direction" (Message for 1901, p. 13). Most of this sort of fear is useless and senseless, because much of what we fear never happens! So we would all be greatly benefited if we would stop looking for something bad to happen, and instead learn to expect good.

This may seem more easily said than done. Can we just stop being afraid? No, we don't dispose of our fears by simply declaring, "I'm just not going to be afraid anymore." We overcome fear by understanding why we do not need to be afraid.

A simple illustration will show what I mean. Flying on a day when there's a heavy overcast, you find that as the plane gains altitude it enters the cloud bank. Right away you are enveloped in heavy gray mist. The propellers seem to be furiously beating the mist, but this doesn't disperse it; the mist only seems to get thicker. Then suddenly the plane emerges above the clouds, and overhead is the brilliance of a cloudless sky and shining sun. Below, what had been a dark and forbidding cloud bank now appears as a billowing white ocean of beauty and loveliness.

Once when I had such an experience, this statement of Mrs. Eddy's came to mind: "To strike out right and left against the mist, never clears the vision; but to lift your head above it, is a sovereign panacea" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 355).

You see, the propellers didn't disperse the clouds; the plane just rose above them. And you can't disperse the sense of fear by striking out right and left against the mist, that is, by willpower and determination. But you can rise above the sense of fear through prayer, through realization of the ever-presence of God, divine Love.

In Isaiah, we find this helpful injunction, "Fear thou not," and then we're given the reason for not being afraid, "for I am with thee" (Isa. 41:10). We must accept this as a present, practical truth that God, who is wholly and eternally good, who is all-powerful, ever-present divine Love, is with us always, unceasingly. God is the tender Shepherd, the loving Father-Mother, guiding and protecting His children, enfolding them in the warmth of His great love. This is the concept of God so beautifully expressed in the familiar 23rd and 91st Psalms, and John writes, "God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." Then John assures us, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear" (I John 4:16,18). "When we truly understand God as all-powerful, ever-present divine Love, and accept the full implications of that fact, we can make practical use of these spiritual truths. In the knowledge and assurance of His perfect love, we will find the remedy for fear, and freedom from worry and anxiety.

When you are tempted to be afraid, remember that, as God's beloved child, you are forever held and sustained in divine Love. Held in that Love, you are completely protected from all evil, from danger, and from everything that is limiting, injurious, harmful, or destructive. The more of God, perfect Love, we accept into consciousness, and make manifest in our daily lives, the less fear can enter. As you understand this, even in a small degree, you will gain the comforting realization of the ever-presence and all-power of infinite divine Love, and fear is then destroyed.

Sometimes danger brings on sudden fear. If so, we can remember that we are told in Proverbs, '"Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken" (3: 25, 26).

Let me tell you about a young mother and her two small boys. One morning, while playing in the yard, the boys disturbed a large nest of bees. Before their mother succeeded in getting the children into the house, all three had been severely stung.

The pain and fright were so great the mother rushed to the telephone and asked the help of a Christian Science practitioner. Together they declared a comforting statement from Psalms, "God is our refuge and strength, a very pleasant help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear" (Ps. 46:1, 2).

The practitioner realized that the great need was to destroy the fear which gripped both the mother and the children. As he turned from the phone, he thought of Paul's experience on the island of Melita, when the viper came out of the fire and fastened on his hand. Paul shook it off and was unharmed. Then the practitioner remembered a statement in Science and Health, "understanding the control which Love held over all, Daniel felt safe in the lions' den, and Paul proved the viper to be harmless. All of God's creatures moving in the harmony of Science, are harmless, useful, indestructible" (p. 514).

This comforting and sustaining statement of God's law lifted the sense of fear and brought instead the comforting assurance of God's love and His care of His little ones. The practitioner continued prayerfully to affirm these truths, and in less than an hour, all three were completely free, and the boys were playing outdoors again. When the father, who wasn't a Christian Scientist, heard that evening what had happened, he examined all three for some evidence of infection or inflammation. He found none, and there were no after effects.

 

The Practical Meaning of Love

As we progress in spiritual understanding, and place more and more dependency on God in overcoming disease, in guiding us in our affairs, and in dissipating our fear and anxiety, we begin to experience a marked change in our thinking in other directions. You see, we can't consistently claim the allness and goodness of God, and the fact that man is the child of God, and still retain ungodlike traits of character. When we say that God is Truth, and man is therefore truthful and honest, we can't then engage in dishonesty. When we acknowledge God as Love and man as the very expression of Love, we can't indulge the unlovely traits of hatred and resentment. And we can't claim sonship with God for ourselves and still see our business associate, relative, or neighbor as a miserable, sick, or sinning mortal.

To be consistent, we must accord to our fellowmen that which we claim for ourselves that man is made in God's image, and therefore is actually honest, upright, fair, just, considerate. And there are times when we must affirm this as the spiritual truth when, to human sense, our fellowmen are expressing the very opposite qualities.

Under these circumstances, to continue to see our fellowmen as children of God requires a pure sense of unselfed love. Our human sense of love, fine though it may be, must be broadened, purified, and unselfed. It must include not only those who love us, but those who don't love us.

Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Matt. 5:44). As we obey the command of the Master, we are expressing unselfed love. Unselfed love is the shining forth of divine Love, expressed in the spontaneous outpouring of Christlike compassion, patience, understanding, and forgiveness towards all mankind. It is the love of Love. Mrs. Eddy expresses this unselfed love when she says, "I would enjoy taking by the hand all who love me not, and saying to them, 'I love you, and would not knowingly harm you' " (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 11).

Now, is this a practical thing to do? Can we afford to love someone who hates us, who has wronged us, who has lied to us or about us?

In the light of spiritual understanding, we find that we cannot do otherwise. As we hate, criticize or condemn, we only delay and even prevent the healing of the situation and, in addition, may bring further suffering upon ourselves. This is a lesson which I had to learn for myself some years ago, a lesson which has proved invaluable to me.

At the time I speak of, I was in the business field. My employer made a decision which seemed unjust and unjustified. Contrary to previous agreements, my sales territory was reduced in size, which in turn decreased my income. As I prepared to follow my employer's orders, I became angry, resentful, and very bitter. When one of my associates commented about it, I replied that I had "every right to be mad." What I had forgotten for the moment was that such resentment did not help the situation and would injure me far more than it did the other fellow.

As I drove to another city to complete the transaction, my resentment grew, until I suddenly found myself so ill and in so much distress that I couldn't go on. I pulled off the road, and began to pray. Then I realized what I had been doing to myself, and that the remedy lay in changing my thinking about my employer,

A helpful statement came to mind from "Miscellaneous Writings." "It is our pride that makes another's criticism rankle, our self-will that makes another's deed offensive, our egotism that feels hurt by another's self-assertion. Well may we feel wounded by our own faults; but we can hardly afford to be miserable for the faults of others" (p. 224).

I saw then that I needed to destroy false pride and egotism, for these were also part of the trouble. I knew I must gain a correct concept of my employer if I was to overcome my anger and resentment. I tried to pray as I knew I should, to see my employer as the perfect man of God's creating, never guilty of injustice, dishonesty, or unfair practices. I earnestly declared that my only real employer is God, my only real work, to express God, and my only true income, the unceasing flow of right ideas to consciousness the right ideas of unselfishness, love, humility, forgiveness.

I prayed in this manner until I felt a sense of peace and freedom. Of course, I soon found that the illness was gone too, so I continued my journey.

I still wasn't quite sure how I'd react when I actually came face to face with my employer. When I did, I knew the healing was complete. As we shook hands, I could quite honestly declare (mentally, of course) that I did enjoy taking him by the hand. All the resentment was gone.

Now, you might expect me to say that my employer had a sudden change of heart. This didn't happen. The transaction was completed just as planned. But I had a sense of real peace and joy about the whole situation, and felt no further sense of resentment. I was able to maintain this state of thinking whenever the incident came to mind after that, and I refused to become disturbed or upset. Then a few months later, I received a promotion and a greatly enlarged territory, much larger than I had ever had before. This more than compensated me for the loss I had temporarily suffered, and my income increased to the highest point it had ever reached. But this material abundance was secondary compared to the lesson I had learned. I was freed of the bad habit of indulging in hatred, resentment, and anger, even when it might seem justified. I had learned that such thinking is never justified.

Today the world faces difficult conditions of hatred, resentment, rivalry among peoples, races, and nations. Before a final and permanent solution to these national and world problems is found, there must be a beginning at the individual level. The truly practical course is for each of us to utilize in our daily lives the great spiritual truths of God and man, to observe especially the two great commandments of Christ Jesus, that we love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves.

We should never ignore the great dangers which seem to confront the world; neither should we become fearful or despondent. Our concern and our faith should be that which is expressed in Mrs. Eddy's words, "Each day I pray for the pacification of all national difficulties, for the brotherhood of man, for the end of idolatry and infidelity, and for the growth and establishment of Christian religion Christ's Christianity. I also have faith that my prayer availeth, and that He who is overturning will overturn until He whose right it is shall reign. Each day I pray: 'God bless my enemies; make them Thy friends; give them to know the joy and the peace of love' " (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 220).

Now, I've only been able to hint at the many spiritual truths which, when understood and utilized, are the healing influence in every age.

The influence of God's power in our lives is in direct proportion to our acceptance of it, and to our willingness to be obedient to the rules which govern its application in our individual experience. Our need is to remember Jesus' statement, "Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock" (Matt. 7:24). The more we avail ourselves of God's power, the more practical it becomes. We constantly find new uses for it, new ways to prove it. When fully utilized, it brings complete salvation from sin, sickness, and all inharmony. This necessarily results in a richer and more meaningful experience humanly, in greater happiness, peace, security, in more of all that is good. This in turn brings added opportunities to serve our fellowmen.

The availability of this healing and saving power of God is not confined to one place, nor limited to one period. It is the fulfillment of every good promise in the Bible. As Mrs. Eddy has written in Science and Health: "Beyond the frail premises of human beliefs, above the loosening grasp of creeds, the demonstration of Christian Mind-healing stands a revealed and practical Science. It is imperious throughout all ages as Christ's revelation of Truth, of Life, and of Love, which remains inviolate for every man to understand and to practise" (p. 98).

As we exercise our divine right to understand and to practice Christian Mind-healing, we gain the practical realization of God's presence and power, and of man's perfection as God's idea. We discover our true spiritual selfhood as the son of God, unlimited and untouched by mortal and material beliefs. This is the result of practical application of spiritual truths. This is Immanuel, or "God with us."

 

1964 Harry S. Smith

All rights reserved

 

[Published in The Tulsa County (Oklahoma) Times, Sept. 14, 1964.]

 

 

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