Paul K. Wavro, C.S.B., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Everyone has available to them something that can bring blessings into their experience. It's valuable but it can't be bought. There's no shortage. Everyone is entitled to the same supply. If you rightly understand your relationship to it and use it wisely, many blessings will result.
It's something like having money in the bank. A magazine article aptly describes it this way. "If you had a bank that credited your account each morning with $86,400, that carried over no balance from day to day, and allowed you to keep no cash in your account, and every evening canceled whatever part of the amount you failed to use during the day, what would you do? Draw out every cent of course!"
The article continued by stating that each one of us has such a bank and it's called Time. In each twenty-four hour day, you and I have 86,400 seconds to draw on. Each night we lose everyone of them because we can't carry over to tomorrow the time we've failed to use in this day. None of us can go back and relive today or salvage time that's been wasted.
The passage of time appears to limit most of what we do. We often hear the cry, "If only I had more time, I could get things done." Yet we can't add more hours to the day, or more minutes to the hour, or more seconds to the minute.
How do we overcome the limitations of time and make the best use of the 86,400 seconds available in each day? One thing it requires is that we change our way of thinking about time. We need to advance from a material sense of time to an understanding of eternity as the spiritual heritage of man as God's child. In other words, we need to think more about taking our human experience out from under the mortal limitation known as time and placing it under the divine possibilities of eternal being. And, as we shall see in the course of this discussion, this has a direct bearing on our human accomplishments. It enables us to prove that we always have time enough.
God Not Limited by Belief in Time
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, clearly perceived that there was a difference between time and eternity. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures she says, "Time is a mortal thought, the divisor of which is the solar year. Eternity is God's measurement of Soul-filled years." (Science and Health p. 598:30) Thus we see that time is a human concept while eternity is a divine idea. Time is the way mortal man measures things. Eternity represents God's knowing, which is infinite and timeless.
What we need isn't more time but a better concept of eternity. When we think in terms of time we're accepting limitation and becoming the servant of time. When we think in terms of eternity we're opening consciousness to the unlimited possibilities of man as the child of God. This makes us the master of time.
God is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniactive, and omniscient. This means that God is the source of all right ideas, activity, and power. As we understand God's true nature it's possible to find instant answers to every situation. This understanding reveals to us the law of God that nullifies human limitations of time.
God's law is ever-present, controlling every situation, and operating to satisfy every human need. When we avail ourselves of the presence of God, of the presence of right ideas, we find harmony and completeness expressed in our experience. We have dominion over the limiting lies of time that claim we have to wait for good.
How do we avail ourselves of the presence of God? Do we have to struggle to claim God's presence? Not at all. God being incorporeal, divine Mind, we do not come into a personal presence. There's only one way to be in God's presence, to be one with God. It's to accept God's ideas as our thinking about every situation. These divine ideas bring us needed answers to the situation confronting us. Ideas of helpfulness, honesty, intelligence, truthfulness, and power. Since ideas are inseparable from their source, the acceptance of God's ideas into consciousness brings us into oneness with Him. Divine Mind, God, being ever-present, no time is involved. Right ideas are present now.
Time would suggest that God's creation isn't complete. For instance, it claims that delay can be part of finding a right solution to any situation. Just give us enough time and we'll find the right answer. Yet we do not accept this when solving a simple mathematical problem. We know that four is the right answer to two times two. We do not have to wait for this answer to become true. It's already true. We use this fact for an instant solution to the problem. This is even more true of God's ideas. They're available immediately.
This was illustrated by the experience of an earnest student of Christian Science during World War II. He was assigned by the Church to work in a city where there were two very large military installations. He had to find a place for his family to live. Humanly this seemed almost impossible to do and if a place could be found it would take time. However, he knew that he was doing God's work, that God's plan was complete and that as he refused to think in terms of time he couldn't be limited. He opened his thought to the eternal nature of God, to the infinite resources of Soul. As soon as he turned his thought to God in this way, he received the answer he needed. Someone called and said they knew of a place that was available now. The need was met because the mortal belief that it took time for good to come was rejected. In its place there was a realization that every right idea, including the idea of home, was always present. This brought the desired solution.
I'm sure that most of you are familiar with a sign that appeared frequently on the walls of military buildings and in defense plants during World War II. It read something like this, "The difficult we do immediately, the impossible takes a little longer."
Under the stress of necessity many arguments of time were being rejected. The impossible was not only demanded but accomplished by many engaged in defense work. What actually was taking place? Men were being forced to turn away from limitations of time. In many instances prayer was given credit for accomplishing the impossible. Men turned to God for right answers and received them without delay of time intervening.
I recall a student of Christian Science who was asked to work on a machine used in the construction of military air fields. He was told that several others had worked on this machine but no one could make it work. He said that he turned to God in prayer. He knew that God, divine Mind, had all right answers and that he expressed this divine Mind. He denied the suggestion that it took time for these ideas to be expressed. During the night he was awakened from sleep with the thought that he knew the right answer. The next morning when he went to the office he sketched out what he described as, "A novel arrangement of levers," and it was found to work perfectly when incorporated into the machine.
So the next time you're confronted with a situation that suggests it'll take time to complete or that you don't have the time to do it, ask yourself this question, "Do I really believe that God has omitted from His creation the idea that I need?" Then turn to God with the realization that the only power, presence, knowing, and activity in that situation is the power, presence, knowing, and activity of God. God being present, the idea you need is present. No belief in time can limit the unfoldment of the unlimited nature of God's ideas in your experience.
Being alert to claim the presence of God and His ideas quiets all suggestions of pressure and burden. Suggestions that would have us fear and doubt our ability to accomplish any task. Fear always suggests that we have just a limited time to do what needs to be done. It's a restrictive argument, yet the Psalmist promises, "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee." (Psalms 56:3)
It's this willingness to trust God that brings His power, presence, and knowing into our experience through the unfoldment of spiritual ideas in consciousness. The result is peace now, the elimination of fear and no waiting for good. God being ever-present eternally, there's no element of time in the unfoldment of His ideas. God is eternal, timeless Being, the infinite, ever-present, divine Principle governing all real being. He fulfills the promise of John, "That there should be time no longer" or as translated by Moffat, "There shall be no more delay" (Revelation 10:6).
The Need for Discipline
Humans have a tendency to tell everyone how much they have to do and how little time there is to do it. This is because they're thinking in terms of time instead of eternity. We frequently use time as an excuse for not doing what needs to be done. We say that we don't have time enough but is this actually so? Let's take the men for example. I'm quite sure that the grass isn't always cut when it should be, or the flower beds weeded because you simply don't have the time to do it. Right? But how about that pro football game you watched, or the baseball game? Or that golf game, or fishing trip you managed to squeeze in? Seems like there was time enough for that!
Now I want to be impartial, so let's ask the ladies a question or two. Did you pass up that last dress sale because you didn't have time to go downtown? Or did you pass up your last club meeting because you didn't have the time? But how about getting your car washed, or cleaning that dirty oven? Did you have time for that?
If we're honest about it we'll own up to the fact that this has happened more than once. I know it has in my own experience.
Actually our need isn't for more time. The need is for self-discipline, putting first things first. It's the need to make wise and judicious use of the time we have, those 86,400 seconds I mentioned at the beginning of this lecture. But this involves more than mere human determination. It requires an understanding of the fundamental, timeless facts of spiritual existence, and a willingness to reject mortal beliefs about man.
It's the acceptance of mortal beliefs that limits us. First, mortal belief says you're born, then you grow, mature, decline, and finally pass on. In other words, time is always with you, limiting you in all ways.
To accept the suggestion that man is a mortal is accepting limitation, to think in terms of mortality. This is clearly shown in the definition of time that Mrs. Eddy gives in Science and Health. She says in part, "Time: Mortal measurements; limits, in which are summed up all human acts, thoughts, beliefs, opinions, knowledge;" (Science and Health p. 595:17-19). She also says, "Eternity, not time, expresses the thought of Life, and time is no part of eternity. One ceases in proportion as the other is recognized. Time is finite; eternity is forever infinite" (Science and Health p. 468:28-1).
Man is not a mortal, but God's image and likeness, wholly spiritual. This man is entitled to all that his Father has. Entitled to life, love, intelligence, ability, and dominion over all mortal beliefs. This is the perception of the eternal nature of man as the son of God.
So we clearly see that to accept the mortal measurement called time is to accept limitation for ourselves. On the other hand, when we think in terms of eternity, we bring infinity into our experience. In infinity there's no time because time requires a measurement − a place to start and a place to stop. Infinity has no beginning and no ending so obviously there's no way to measure time in infinity.
Let's make sure we're placing human experience under the divine, under the government of God's timeless being. To do this we have to accept God's ideas, divine ideas, as our thinking about all things. This frees us from mortal beliefs, including the belief of time. This yielding of human sense to divine truth brings the Christ, the manifestation of God. It shows us that right at hand we've all we need. Isn't this what the apostle Paul glimpsed when he said, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Phil. 4:13) This same Christ enables you and me to do all things, having time enough right now.
Christ Jesus Not Limited by Time
This was ably illustrated in the life of that master Christian, Christ Jesus. He claimed the power and presence of God in every situation. Mrs. Eddy writes, "Jesus required neither cycles of time nor thought in order to mature fitness for perfection and its possibilities." (Un. p. 11:24-26) Jesus wasn't limited by the mortal belief that it takes time to do what needs to be done.
When he was faced with the task of feeding the multitude it was found that only a few loaves and fishes were on hand. Human reasoning suggested that time was needed to find the necessary supply. In the face of such suggestions Jesus turned wholeheartedly to God. He knew that God's infinite ability to meet the human need was already present, no time was needed for it to be manifested. The result, not only enough to feed the multitude but basketfuls left over.
Jesus was the human man. Christ was his divine nature as the son of God. It was the expression of the Christ that enabled Jesus to immediately feed the five thousand. Through his expression of the Christ he nullified the limitations of time. By identifying himself with the Christ, the divine idea, Jesus, the human man, was able to perceive, without delay, the necessary ideas that solved all problems.
Christ is how God manifests Himself in human experience − a spiritual power for good. This Christ is as available to you and me today as it was to Jesus in his day. Christ is evidenced through the expression of divine ideas. Opening consciousness to these ideas and accepting them as our own thinking, we'll find right answers now. We don't have to wait for time to pass before we have what we need − "with God all things are possible" (Mark ).
Jesus said, "I and my Father are one" (John ). Jesus was one with the Father. He accepted God's ideas as his own thinking. God is infinite, eternal, so when Jesus claimed God's ideas as his own thinking, the infinite nature of God was revealed in his experience. As you and I consciously maintain our unity with God we'll find evidence of the infinite appearing in our experience. We'll no longer be subject to the limitations time would try to impose on us.
Jesus proved this. At the age of twelve he conversed with the most learned men of his time. Luke says, "And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers" (Luke ). Jesus wasn't limited by human beliefs of time. He claimed the presence of the Christ and knew that God, infinite Mind, was all knowing. As the idea of God he was manifesting this divine intelligence. Time had nothing to do with it for this was part of eternity, available in a full measure right now.
If time were needed to accomplish good, Jesus could never have accomplished as much as he did in his ministry of three years. This ministry changed the lives of mankind. But it wasn't time that did this, it was consecration. Yes, consecration and dedication to the task of expressing God's ideas. Time didn't limit Jesus when he identified himself with the Christ. Neither can it limit us as we claim the eternal, timeless nature of the Christ as our true identity.
Jesus had time enough to do his work because he was doing the Father's work. In the same way, as we are about our Father's work, the work of daily expressing the Christ, expressing the ideas of love, intelligence, helpfulness, truthfulness, and orderliness, we'll find there's time enough to do all that needs to be done. What I'm saying is, that it doesn't take time for us to experience good. God, good, is always present. If we'll have the same consecration and dedication that Christ Jesus had, we'll find we have time enough to accomplish a full measure of good in daily experience.
To this point we've seen that time is a self-imposed limitation on man's capabilities and possibilities. It's the result of thinking in terms of materiality. We eliminate this false belief as we perceive the eternal nature of God's spiritual being. We've seen that man doesn't have to accept mortal beliefs concerning time. When man claims and expresses God's ideas, he frees himself from mortal limitations.
We've seen how Jesus perceived this spiritual fact and by claiming the Christ as his true nature, freed himself from the limitations of time. His work as Wayshower showed us the way of eternity. That it's the right way is proved by what he accomplished in his three year ministry. As we, too, claim this eternal nature the Christ reveals, it brings our human experience under the divine. This unfolds for us the infinite possibilities of timeless being.
No Time Involved in Spiritual Treatment
Just how can we apply these truths to individual experience? Christian Science treatment is the means available to anyone.
To most people the word treatment brings up the concept of doing something physically. Something like taking medicine, a pill, physical manipulation, or surgery of some sort. It would probably be safe to say that to most people the word treatment is associated with doing something materially to the human body then waiting for time and convalescence to bring forth a healing.
That's where Christian Science treatment differs from all other forms of treatment. Christian Science treatment involves mental and spiritual activity. It deals with correction of false mental concepts which underlie all outward physical conditions. It's essentially the elimination of false concepts such as sickness, discord, and imperfection. This is accomplished by spiritual knowing, by maintaining ideas of health, harmony, and perfection - ideas of God. Dealing with spiritual ideas, Christian Science treatment requires no period of time or convalescence to bring about healing.
Christian Science treatment isn't mental suggestion. It's prayer in its highest form, the prayer of understanding. It's the understanding that God alone creates, and that all God creates is good because like produces like. It's not blind faith that pleads for help without assurance that help will come. It's a prayer of understanding based upon spiritual realities. This prayer doesn't ignore discord or sickness. To ignore them would be to say there's nothing that needs correction or treatment. So understanding prayer starts with a recognition of the need for correction. It's knowing what's true about health, harmony, and perfection.
The basis of Christian Science treatment is the spiritual fact that God is the only Cause and Creator. God being good, His creation must be good. Hence, anything that isn't good isn't a part of God's creation and has no basis in fact. Perfection is the spiritual fact in every situation and perfection is the yardstick by which we measure whether a thing is right or wrong, true or false.
Recognizing that discord is no part of God's creation starts us moving toward the goal of health and harmony. This is the first step. Then we have to keep moving to attain the goal of perfection. We keep moving by recognizing the error and denying that it has any reality, any place in God's perfect creation. Next we affirm what's true in the situation according to the law of God. Continuing to deny every error and then affirming what's true keeps us moving until all errors are corrected and we've reached the goal of health and harmony.
Christian Science treatment then is the elimination of false beliefs and the maintenance of spiritual facts in consciousness. It deals with spiritual ideas, so no time is involved. What's true about man is true right now. You don't have to wait a week, a day, or an hour for it to become true. However, if you think in terms of time, then you may not always see this point immediately. But this doesn't change the fact that it's true now.
Mrs. Eddy says, "The objects of time and sense disappear in the illumination of spiritual understanding, and Mind measures time according to the good that is unfolded" (Science and Health p. 584:4-6). Gaining spiritual understanding we completely eliminate the element of time in individual experience.
Let me give you an example of instantaneous healing. A child was left in the care of an earnest student of Christian Science. She knew and loved the child and wasn't concerned when the parents told her there would be no way to contact them while they were away. The following day the child became ill and was in great pain. Since the parents weren't Christian Scientists and used medical means, a physician was called to examine the child. Then the woman called a Christian Science practitioner and asked for prayerful support for herself.
The physician diagnosed the condition as acute appendicitis and stated an immediate operation was necessary. He called for a surgeon to come in and confirm the diagnosis. Upon hearing this, the woman called the practitioner and asked if he would pray for the child before the surgeon arrived, saying that the parents weren't available and she didn't want to be responsible for giving permission to operate. Due to these emergency factors the practitioner consented to give the child Christian Science treatment. Remember, this all took place before the surgeon arrived. When he arrived and started to examine the child, the abnormal condition suddenly returned to normal. The pain was gone without a surgical operation and the child was healed. When the parents returned and learned what had happened they took the child to a hospital for a thorough examination. The verdict, the child was in perfect health.
What took place in this situation? First of all, the practitioner rejected the suggestion that time was involved - that there was a deadline to meet. He turned thought to the changeless, eternal nature of God's creation and to the fact that in His creation all was good. He held firmly to the fact that right now the child of God was manifesting the perfect nature of God's creation. He denied that any material law, belief, opinion, or diagnosis could limit the perfect health that is the heritage of God's child. He affirmed that God is divine Principle, the only true lawmaker and that His law is good. He declared and affirmed that God is Love, divine Love, and in Love there's nothing to fear. He knew that these were the facts of the situation already established and that no mortal belief could change these facts or argue that time was a factor in their being manifested here and now. He maintained that God's law was the only law operating in this situation. This clear, spiritual maintenance of what God is and does brought forth the healing without delay.
Consecration Needed for Success
We said a bit earlier that consecration is a vital element in healing. This was an outstanding characteristic in Mary Baker Eddy. From early youth throughout her adult life she was constantly searching for a better understanding of God. She could rightly be called an inquirer for truth, taking advantage of all the human footsteps that were available to her. She was an active church attendant and daily read and studied her Bible. She practiced what she learned from her study by being loving, compassionate, and helpful to others, using her talents to the best of her ability. This early discipline was preparing her for the discovery of Christian Science. She was learning how to make time work for her.
This was especially helpful after her discovery of Christian Science in 1866. She was faced with the monumental task of carrying this message to humanity. To mortal sense a frail woman, in a day where women were supposed to be seen but not heard, this was indeed a task of immense proportions.
Did she have time to do all that needed to be done? Not if she dealt in terms of believing that time was her master. She saw that she had to make time her servant, to make time work for her through an understanding that eternity wasn't subject to mortal measurements of any kind. She valued the Bible promise, ". . . behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation" (II Cor. 6:2). Her clear perception that now was the only time crowned her efforts with fulfillment.
As one views Mrs. Eddy's tremendous accomplishments after she reached the mid-point of her life, her undeviating consecration to her spiritual mission stands out. Still she says of herself − "The little I have accomplished has all been done through love, − self-forgetful, patient, unfaltering tenderness" (My. 247:28). This devotion and unwavering obedience to divine impulsion led her to become the Founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist. At one point she simultaneously served as editor of a monthly church periodical, was pastor of the church, taught in the Massachusetts Metaphysical College, and continually practiced Christian Science healing.
Out of this experience she later wrote, "Success in life depends upon persistent effort, upon the improvement of moments more than upon any other one thing . . . If one would be successful in the future, let him make the most of the present" (Mis. 230:2). Mrs. Eddy made wise use of moments, making the most of the present to do what needed to be done. More important was her refusal to accept mortal beliefs concerning the limitations of time. She worked from the standpoint of eternity. Her consecration and clear perception that God, divine Mind, always has the right answers showed her that time couldn't limit the unfoldment of right ideas. They were ever-present.
You and I can use time to bring fulfillment of purpose in our own experience. We just have to stop thinking in terms of mortal measurements and start knowing in terms of eternity, the infinite, timeless reality of true being.
No Time Needed to Prove Brotherhood of Man
Today modern invention as typified by airplane, television, and radio is shrinking the world in size. It has required us to adjust more readily to changing conditions. Material thinking tells us that adjusting takes time so if we have enough time, mankind will make the demonstration of universal brotherhood. However, in the meantime we'll have discord and strife among men because of color, race, or religion. This suggestion that time is needed will delay the healing of these situations so we must reject it and see that now is the time to know man as God knows him.
It isn't time we need but a better understanding of man's true spiritual nature. Right now man, and that includes all mankind, is the full expression of God who is the only Cause and Creator. It isn't the passage of time that makes this true, it's the spiritual fact right now. As this spiritual fact is acknowledged there will be a greater sense of unity among men and nations.
Let me tell you something of my experience as a Christian Science lecturer. It's been my privilege to lecture in many countries and be in contact with people of all colors, races, religions. Yet in my experience I've found that color, race, religion, nationality have nothing to do with the way people treat you. I've found that all over the world people express love, kindness, thoughtfulness, consideration, and helpfulness. When this hasn't been the case, I found that what needed changing wasn't the people but my concept of them. When I changed my thinking and maintained spiritual facts, that's what I found expressed by all people. It's a true fact that all men are the children of God and express God's qualities.
As I've recognized and maintained these spiritual facts my work has been happy and fruitful. Suppose I'd accepted the suggestion that it took time to find man expressing these divine qualities. That if things weren't so good now maybe at some future time I could return and things would be better. It would have robbed me of the joy and blessings of all my trips.
It doesn't take time to claim what's true about man. Neither can we wait until someone else makes an effort. It's our privilege and responsibility to take the time to correct our own thinking right now. Mrs. Eddy says, "From the infinite elements of the one Mind emanate all form, color, quality, and quantity, and these are mental, both primarily and secondarily" (Science and Health, p. 512:21-24).
This understanding that Mind, God is the only source of color and quality will bring about a true sense of brotherhood among men. What I've experienced all men can experience. It deals with ideas, spiritual ideas, so we can start right now to establish these divine concepts as our own thinking about men.
In the 86,400 seconds available to you in your account each day there's time enough to do what needs to be done provided you don't try to carry over a balance. Claim your divine heritage as a son of God, the heritage of intelligence, ability, orderliness, and capacity. This will be claiming your full stature as a child of God reflecting and manifesting His qualities and attributes.
We need to throw off material limitations by claiming more of the infinite nature of true being. Infinity has been defined as a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. See yourself as being in this center of unlimited possibilities without a boundary to confine you to the mortal belief called time.
This isn't human reasoning, it's divine knowing. It requires you to take your human experience out from under all mortal beliefs of time and limitation and place it under the infinite possibilities and capacities of divine knowing. To let the Christ govern. Jesus showed us this could be done. He appeared as a human man but wasn't limited by human beliefs. He showed us that as the Christ appeared as his thinking about all things it lifted him above the limitations of time. In just the same way the Christ lifts you and me above the limitations of time when we accept it as our own thinking. This acceptance gives us time enough to do what needs to be done.