The Light of Life, Revealed by Christian Science
M. Ethel Whitcomb, C.S.B., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
"And God said, Let there be light; and there was light." This command, with its fulfillment, will ever be the edict of eternal Mind. Throughout the centuries the majestic proclamation of Truth is: Let there be light. God forever calls creation to recognize the effulgence and glory of omnipotent and omnipresent good wherein creation lives as radiant ideas.
The deepest cry of the human heart is, "What and where is God?" In the First Epistle of John (I John 1: 5), we have a definite, positive answer: "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. " To a Christian Scientist, this triumphant declaration carries with it the meaning that God is Spirit, and in Him is no matter at all; God is Truth, and in Him is no error at all; God is Love, and in Him is no discord, no harshness at all. The All-in-all, revealed to the inspired John as light and Love, is One. In this one infinite good there is no element the opposite of itself, no evil force, power, or influence. The King eternal, invisible, reigns in nightless day, supreme in goodness and in love. In Science and Health, p. 510, Mrs. Eddy writes, "Science reveals only one Mind, and this one shining by its own light and governing the universe, including man, in perfect harmony." God, then, as the Christian Scientist knows Him, is incorporeal Mind, dwelling in endless light and harmony, the sole law-giver of the universe, whose law is love alone. From this divine Mind forever pours the light of understanding, inspiration, blessedness, flooding creation with the eternal freshness of Life. The sun, imparting light and heat to the earth is a symbol of divine Mind, enlightening, purifying, and sustaining the universe and man, forever imparting to creation the illumination of health and harmony.
How ever new is the tender name of Love for our creator — ineffable, incomparable, present, available Love! In the light and warmth of this eternal Love the real man lives and moves. What a home has man! Fear and dread give way to joyous trust when one realizes that divine Love is actually present every moment throughout eternity. A little boy who had attended a Christian Science Sunday School for a few Sundays surprised his mother by telling her that he would never be afraid of the dark again. "Why?" asked his mother. "Well," answered the little lad, "when I go to school the teacher says, 'Billy,' and I say, 'present.' So when I am in the dark I say, 'God,' and He answers, 'present.' " Whenever in the darkness of human agony the heart cries, "God!" from boundless, inexhaustible Love comes back the answer, "Present." How full of definite assurance is that word "present"! Not sometime, somewhere may we walk in the sunlight of God, but now in this present moment.
The Will of God
When men actually know that God is Love and that in Him is no unkindness, no evil at all they perceive for a fact that the will of this infinite Presence, whom Jesus called "My Father" and "your Father" always has been, is now, and always will be good toward His creation. How can the divine Mind know anything, plan anything, give anything but health, joy, and blessedness to His own precious children? What burdens are lifted, what fears are silenced, what anguish is soothed, when men understand that the undeviating, irresistible will of God is always good! How easy then to say, "Thy will be done!"
"Man is the idea of Spirit; he reflects the beatific presence, illuming the universe with light," we read in Science and Health, page 266. How wondrous is man, created to reflect the divine presence and illumine the universe with the brightness of infinity! Imperfection can no more be found in God's reflection than it can be found in God. God lights the world through man, His spiritual idea. As the sunbeam tells the nature and quality of the sun, so the real man, through thought and act, tells the nature and quality of God. Inseparable from divine Mind as is the ray of light from the sun is spiritual consciousness, God's man.
In the illumination of divine intelligence we see man as he is. In the darkness of material sense, we see the world's belief of man, a mortal personality made up of human concepts of life, all based upon a physical belief of man as springing from matter, material in tastes, wants, and moods, fretful and foolish. How interesting to recall that the word "personality" comes from a word meaning mask. Christian Science tears away the mask and leaves man's individuality, the likeness of God, in thinking, loving, and being. It is helpful to ask oneself, "For which am I standing, the mask or God's man?" If for sensitiveness, selfishness, smallness, then the mask; if for all that is noble and Godlike, then man. Gaining perfection does not mean bringing to perfection the false personality, the mask, made up of charm and treachery, of hate and selfish love. It means laying off the mask entirely, that man's true identify may appear in qualities like God. Whenever one is less than just, less than helpful, less than true, less than considerate, he is wearing the mask.
One day as I was walking down the street, I spied a bit of a boy with a repulsive mask in his hand. When he saw me, he hastily put on the mask and hid himself under a bush. As I passed him he jumped up and cried "Boo!" The mask slipped to one side revealing a darling fair-skinned rosy boy. How easy it was to see that the mask was no part of that beautiful child. Many times since that day I have reminded myself that in the place of each mask of evil personality is a fair and spiritual individuality, precious to God and like Him in goodness. Let us not watch and talk about the mask, but rather look behind it and watch and talk about man. Whenever we become disturbed over the imperfections that others express, we are tightening instead of loosening the mask.
One often hears the plaint: "If I could only see the light! All seems so dark and drear." At this very moment, divine Mind is flooding consciousness with the light of understanding, surrounding each idea with the illumination of His presence. Eternal Love knows no favoritism. It is as impartial as the sun which is as willing to shine through the tiny window in the cellar as through the plate glass panes of the living room. It seeks only a transparency. Mrs. Eddy speaks of goodness as "transparent." Then purity, selfless purpose, moral courage, compassion, tireless endeavor to attain the Mind of Christ must be transparent. Through these attributes shines the goodness of God, as the sun shines through the window pane. When the opacity of materialism, with its useless plans and selfish wants, gives way to the transparency of God-like qualities, men begin to know themselves aright, as the sons of light.
The Light of the World
Of the just man the prophet Samuel said: "And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds." What a picture of the real man's consciousness comes to us as we behold the majestic glory and victory of the morning sunrise. At that moment, if we recall that man is as the morning, a morning without clouds, we shall turn with peace from the world's concept of a struggling, clouded mortal and refresh our hearts with this beautiful simile of man as the morning, even a spring morning, aglow with freshness, songfulness, newness, bloom — all qualities of God's man. If tempted to think of ourselves as groping in the night of material trials, we should awake and recall that we are sons of God and shine forth as the morning.
"Ye are the light of the world," proclaimed the Master to his disciples. In this statement we find the purpose and mission of each follower of the Master. To everyone's thought will sometime come these searching questions: Who am I? Where am I? What is the purpose of my life? From divine Mind comes the answer: "Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God." The real man is God's witness, representative, idea, reflection, spiritual likeness. Where am I? In the very presence of the mother-love of God, never to be separated from the infinitude of endless good. To the vital question, What is the purpose of my life?, we have the rousing answer uttered by Jesus: "Ye are the light of the world." How it sweetens hope and dignifies being to recognize ourselves as the light of the world. If we, for a moment, forget our ministry and think in terms of self-bound interests, we obscure instead of reveal the light of God, but when we subjugate materiality, trampling under foot the pains and fascinations of earth's concept of life by thinking in terms of spiritual life, its divine possibilities, privileges, and demands — at such moments we actually reflect heaven's brightness to the world. If the way of life appears heavy and loss or sorrow seems very real, let us remind ourselves of the majesty of our purpose, the grandeur of our outlook for we are "the light of the world." No one has a small part, an inferior work, an unimportant office, for each one has a torch of inspiration to keep aglow. How impossible for the man who lives to light the world with thinking governed by his God to be burdened by unjust criticism or malicious condemnation! He has work to do to illumine the world with the reflected radiance of his God and is concerned with nothing else. He will not lower his torch to take time to think what others are saying of him. He does not allow one thought to rest upon humanity that will not lift it nearer to Love's fadeless light. No one can make his way by himself or for himself alone. One hand must lean upon the staff of Truth and the other hold aloft the lamp of vision to help his brother find the path of Life. How much more quickly the battle with mortal selfhood, expressed through disagreeable disposition, the desire to smoke or to drink intoxicants — all earthward gravitations — is won when one awakens from the stupor of living for himself to hear the call, "Ye are the light of the world!" He is illumined who lives to illumine the way for others.
"Light" and "Darkness" — Symbols
Prophets and apostles used light and darkness as symbols of good and evil. When the race looks upon God corporeally, as the author of tragedy and pain, and upon man materially as of few days and full of trouble, it is looking into darkness — upon that night which has no star of hope. In the material sense of life there is no light; in the spiritual sense of life there is no darkness. One definition of darkness given by Webster is: "A state of ignorance or error." Christian Science has burst upon the darkness of ignorance with the light of divine understanding, outshining the sun in glory. It is man's spiritual right to walk in the light of inspiration, joy, and liberty. Isaiah prophesied the coming of the Christ was to "open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house." The words and works of Jesus show men the path which leads from the darkness of false human concepts with the mesmeric attractions and perplexities, into the light of true knowing and satisfaction. "He that followeth me," proclaimed Jesus, "shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life." No one shall walk in darkness who follows the Master's command to let his light shine that men seeing his good works shall glorify his heavenly Father. When one does his work aglow with the life-giving desire that men seeing his work shall honor God and Him alone, the darkness of monotony, rivalry, jealousy, envy, discouragement flees away.
He who is longing to emerge from the "prison house" must find his way through love. "Love one another as I have loved you," said the man who walked in light. The word "as" holds our attention. When we think of Jesus going about among men, cheering, comforting, inspiring, healing, from morning until evening, we realize how much of love we yet must learn. Love is positive, active, fruitful. To love as Jesus loved is a constant endeavor to sweeten, purify, and uplift.
Nothing else can be love, for love means to bless instead of to possess; to give, instead of to get. Love is self lost in service. "He that loveth his brother abideth in light," said the beloved disciple, "and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes." He who lives in hate walks in the blackest gloom of night; no one can see anything aright or do anything aright until his eyes are opened to behold the light of love.
Jesus gave this sublime reason for his life: "I came . . . not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me." He taught men the real nature of the will of God, unalterable in tenderness, unchangeable in mercy and justice. The woman who, as the Bible tells us, had a spirit of infirmity "and was bowed together and could in no wise lift up herself," may have been told by her neighbors that it was God's will that she should be thus fettered. When Jesus saw her, he called her to him and said, "Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity," and it is recorded that "immediately she was made straight and glorified God." Jesus, instead of telling the people that she was bowed together by the law of God, said "Ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?" When he thus spoke, he overthrew accepted theories, trampled upon time-honored beliefs, and cooperated with the law, the will, of God.
He who knew God's will better than did any other man realized that sickness and death are as illegitimate and abnormal as is sin. When he said to the man full of leprosy, "Be thou clean," he knew that the man in God's likeness is forever the expression of the wholeness, the perfection of God; that the irresistible will of divine Mind which he uttered would banish the lie of belief instantly and finally. And it did. Thus Jesus, by banishing lack, insanity, disease, sorrow, deafness, blindness, sin, and even death established for all time the irrefutable fact that those evils are no part of God's plan for man in any age and can no more withstand the triumph of Truth than the night can resist the dominion and glory of the morning. They are lifeless foes which were conquered over nineteen centuries ago. Really they are shadows of the night of ignorance, which arc extinguished by the daylight of understanding — the truth about God and man.
Disease, a Dream Shadow
If mankind's thinking were identified fully with the law of God, mankind could say as did the Psalmist, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil." No shadow of the night of materialism can intimidate the man who knows that when he actually faces the light of infinite Love he no longer sees the shadow. Mrs. Eddy, in the Christian Science textbook, names many diseases, including tumors and deformed joints, affirming that they are but "waking dream-shadows, dark images of mortal thought, which flee before the light of Truth." (S&H, p. 418). What hope can anyone have of being freed from the shadows of disease, sorrow, or false appetites except through the light of spiritual understanding, the knowledge of the law of God? Shadows! What a word to describe the things so dreaded by the human mind. It matters not whether the shadows cast upon the wall are large or small. They have no substance, no life, no power; they cannot be rubbed from the wall nor whitewashed out. But they cannot withstand the coming of the light. Light alone can remove them. The unsubstantial shadows of disease which appear upon the body by whatever name they are called are no more a part of the body than shadows are a part of the wall. They cannot withstand the illumination of spiritual ideas, which act upon the body when the sunlight of Truth streams through consciousness, penetrating and swallowing up the shadows, and the body is no longer darkened by them. Thus the healing work of Christian Science is accomplished. Then the shadows of temptation, grief, disease, old age, failure, are opposed by the light of spiritual understanding, the facts concerning God, His will, the real man, his origin and eternality, his spirituality, and divine rights of peace, dominion, achievement, are swallowed up in victory.
Depression, a Dream Shadow
The common foe of mortal mind is the shadow enemy called depression, or mental darkness. One should submit to this unreal foe no more than to the error of dishonesty. It is without origin, without place, without power to act, for God does not create it. It has no control over men when they realize that it is but self-mesmerism, without the slightest real influence.
Regardless of how dark seems the way, it is only a seeming, for God is light and there is no dark place in the effulgence of divine Love. Christian Science is proving to thousands that the dream cloud of depression cannot resist the potency of praise. Does not the Bible tell us that we should show forth the praise of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light? As the birds in the early morning shout their praises to the dawn, so should men pour forth their silent praises at all times to Love's eternal light. Depression cannot enter where praise abides. At a time when the mist of depression seemed to gather about a Christian Scientist, she heard herself sigh. Instantly she thought, What! Sigh in the presence of God? I would not sigh before men. Do I think less of God than of men? Then came the blessed words of Scripture: "The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; . . .he will joy over thee with singing. " Then she thought, this very minute God is imparting His all of good to me, even rejoicing over me, His child, with singing. Instead of sighing, silently answer His song. At that moment she joined the chorus of praiseful hearts and answered her Father's song. Depression was conquered. The light had come.
Because Love is the light that streams forever from Mind, revealing all things as they are, banishing the shadows of depression, disease, everything unlike Love, nothing is more important than to watch that clouds of irritability, faultfinding, or wilfulness do not obstruct the glory of this light. Did you ever think that a penny held close to the eye will obscure the sunrise? If one has been misjudged or wronged and dwells upon it, and talks about it, he is holding that which is less important than a penny so close to his eye that, for him, it covers the sunrise of reality. One should ever beware of the penny errors, the non-essentials of daily experience, which hide from view the majestic things of Life.
"And thine age shall be clearer than the noonday," we read in the book of Job. Man stands forever at the noonday of life. God's man is born for eternity. His faculties are indestructible. It cannot be God's will for man to grow less useful, but forever more useful, more wise, more helpful. Man stands at the point of everlasting unfoldment. Youth and age are not a matter of years. They are mental concepts: Youth, a type of freshness, activity, discovery, buoyancy, expectation of good; Age, too often presenting a type of recorded hardships, wrongs remembered, disappointments, and loss. An eternity of privileges and victories stretches out before each one of us. Years can never rob us of our rights to youth, and we must claim our God-given own. God places no boundaries, no limitations about His ideas. All the possibilities of being exist here in God's eternal now. "Let there be light," the light of understanding, and in the light let us see that everything that cramps, crowds, limits, deprives, is but a shadow of accepted belief which God's man can walk through triumphantly into unbounded good.
A man who had passed the age of 100 years was asked to what he attributed his preservation. He gave this simple answer, "Minding my own business." As we think of this answer, it is very profound. It is a big thing to mind one's own spiritual business. He who is minding his own spiritual business is intent upon expressing Godlikeness in thought, word, and act. This keeps him busy every moment of the day. He has no time left in which to criticize other people, but he leaves them free to work out their own salvation as they feel led. To mind one's own spiritual business is to keep one's tongue always under control. Such a tongue never gossips, never finds fault, never slanders. It speaks to cheer, to heal, to inspire. Christian Scientists do not rehearse the unpleasant things that take place in the darkness of ignorance. Their Leader has said (Christian Healing, p. 19) that their words should be "golden rays in the sunlight" of their deeds, and they diligently strive to obey. One of the most important parts of daily activity is minding one's own glorious business of getting on harmoniously with all people, a problem intricate to mortals as shown by unhappy homes, divided organizations, disrupted friendships. Only through spiritual sense can one learn to bend, blend, and bless, and thereby move onward at peace with all men. It is less difficult to do this when we perceive that evil, like darkness, is not personal. There is but one darkness; it is to be found in this closed room, in that garret, wherever the sunshine is shut out. In whatever place, darkness is the same impersonal darkness; we never think of it as anybody. Darkness is powerless to shut out the tiniest ray of light, but surrenders instantly, as light appears. When we realize that there is but one hate, one injustice, one discontent, just one impersonal evil, and this only the darkness of ignorance concerning God and man, just a state of belief where Love's sunlight is not admitted, then when this darkness presents itself to us through other people, we shall not be disturbed and fretful but shall each time turn to our spiritual business, the reflection of the light of understanding, which extinguishes the darkness of ignorance. What hope for the race is the fact that light and darkness cannot dwell together! Mrs. Eddy writes (Mis. p. 355), "Hold thy gaze to the light." The solution of every problem may be found in obedience to this precept.
Every great achievement for the race has had its birth in prayer. Men need to pray. It humbles, sweetens, and spiritualizes thought to enter the closet of consciousness and shut the door, there in the silence of self-examination to see if one is laying off the things of sense and taking on the things of Soul, God; to see if one is caring less for the temporal and more for the eternal, turning from non-essentials and trifles to the essentials of progress, purity, and ever-widening love. We need to learn to pray intelligently, fervently, and joyfully in the closet of consciousness, the holy place of communion with God.
If we are pleading there to our Father to be with us or with our loved ones, pleading for health or strength, we are not praying intelligently; for we are then like a man standing in the sunshine with his eyes shut, asking for light. His need is not for light, but for open eyes that he may see the light. When the servant of Elisha was in a panic of fear because the enemies of the prophet were in pursuit, Elisha did not ask God for protection but that the young man's eyes might be opened that he might see the protection of omnipresent Love. The record says that "the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw; and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." How earnestly we should pray for open eyes to behold the abundance of God, who is eternally present with men. LIFE SHOULD BE A CONSTANT PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING for what really is. Every moment infinite Mind is pouring upon creation the light of health, joy, freshness, spiritual understanding, even heaven itself. Christian Science says in the words of Isaiah, "Arise, shine; for thy light is come." Arise from the deadness and stupor of depression and thanklessness, and shine in the brightness of thanksgiving for thy light is come — not will come, IS COME.
The light of Life is present; it will never flicker, never fade; it is permanent, uninterrupted in its outpouring, your light and mine, eternally. Daniel must have realized this when he thanked God each day, after as well as before he knew that he was to be cast into the lions' den. He did not waste his time in self-pity because such an experience was to be his but gave thanks that there is no place where divine Love is not, no circumstance in which Truth is not victorious, where the light of good is not supreme. Thanksgiving is one of the purest qualities of thought, for it ushers man into holy companionship with his Father. It is not passive but positive, absolute, and healing. It is a state of recognition and acceptance of God's loving will toward men. What more convincing example have we of such prayer than Jesus' at the tomb of Lazarus? When all the evidence was on the side of darkness, death, and sorrow, lifting up his eyes to the light of all-conquering Life, he said, "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me." He gave thanks before there was any visible cause for thankfulness, and in that exalted moment of certainty, expectation and thanksgiving, united, reflected the divine power that even the claim of death could not resist. Thanksgiving is a mighty quality, for it cooperates with the ever-operating law of God. It is majestic, fruitful, triumphant. The poet prayed well who wrote:
"Thou who hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more, — a grateful heart,
Not thankful when it pleaseth me
As if Thy blessings had spare days,
But such a heart whose very pulse shall be Thy praise. "
Prayer then does not consist of merely asking God to love us, or to do more for us. The constant endeavor to be true to divine Principle, God, to be faithful to men in our thinking and in our acts, is prayer. Unless we are expressing patience to the impatient, justice to the unjust, mercy to the unmerciful, we are not praying, regardless of how many oral petitions to God we may be making. God created man to express His nature. The fervent desire to manifest His nature instead of human nature in all our dealings with our fellow men is true prayer. Gratitude and joy for the things of God are prayers. The thankless heart is never a prayerful heart. When one thinks of the universe, of the stars and birds and trees and flowers, and says, "Father, I thank Thee," he has prayed. When our brother cries out in the gloom of sin or pain for help, and we yearning to reflect the healing light of God, silently declare that the Christ-idea is present and available to dispel the darkness, then comes the Christ to consciousness and questions us as it did the blind man of old: "Believe ye that I am able to do this?" When, convinced of Truth's victorious power, we answer in expectation born of God, "Yea, Lord," then we have prayed.
Mrs. Eddy, the Discoverer
Christian Science was born of infinite Love. It reached humanity through a heart that had learned through heroic struggles, only bravest overcomings, and self-effacement, the universality of Love. It can be understood only by those who yearn to love and bless mankind. Mary Baker Eddy was the only one in this age whose consciousness was spiritually prepared to receive the sublime revelation of Christian Science. The highest mountain-peak first shows forth the glow of sunrise. The sunrise of divine revelation threw its golden radiance upon her consciousness, elevated as it were, through selfless devotion to God and to humanity.
A dictionary defines revelation as God's disclosure or manifestation of Himself or His will to man. The mighty revelation which the discoverer of Christian Science brought to the apprehension of the age is indeed a disclosure of God and His will to man. It reached humanity through the spirituality of one who actually proved the nothingness of matter and the tangibility, yea, the allness of Spirit. In speaking of the hour in which she beheld the revelation, she writes (Ret., 27), "The divine hand led me into a new world of light and life, a fresh universe — old to God, but new to His 'little one'." She was too selfless to be content in the new universe of light and life until she could state the Science of her discovery in rules so plain that all who suffered could apply them and be free. With her heart identified with this one sublime purpose, she worked on through tireless study of the Scriptures, undaunted by opposition, misunderstanding, and persecution until she had given to the world the book that would enable it to take its steps out of the unreality of materialism into spiritual understanding and the reality of being. What a divine achievement for the race is Science and Health.
I have heard Mrs. Eddy speak many
times. I wish that I could tell you of the Christ-like simplicity, the
God-imparted inspiration, the courage born of God which she expressed when she
spoke. With tenderness and strength she would draw aside the curtain of
material sense while her hearers breathlessly beheld the city of
Science and Health
Mrs. Eddy has said of herself that she was a "scribe under orders" (Mis., p. 311), Those who have glimpsed the light of Truth and been healed through the study of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures know of a certainty that Mary Baker Eddy was a "scribe under orders." I always think of her as a Christ-like, listening scribe, selfless beyond description, recording for humanity's sake what she heard and saw in the realm of infinite Mind. Through purity of consciousness she heard; through sacred obedience she recorded; and by her efforts humanity beholds the light of Life which Jesus revealed but which materialism obscured. What a comfort to mankind is the book that she gave us. No one can realize what an unspeakable gift it is until he turns to it, weighed down by earth's woes, and through it finds health and rest. I have seen the business man, beset by worries and perplexities, turn to this book and through its study, receive intelligent ideas that have solved his problems. I have seen the mother find in its pages divine rules which, when obeyed, have healed her children of diseases pronounced incurable. Many times I have seen faithful parents find, through this book, the Christ-light that has extinguished the darkness of worldliness and evil tendencies in the lives of their offspring. In fact, I have seen men and women of many professions find, through the study of this book, the needed guidance in times of confusion and adversity. What a book! The Christian Scientist studies it daily with his Bible and thanks God that the world has such a friend, Science and Health is a KEY which unlocks the holy treasures of the Bible as well as the gate of endless opportunity to man. It is a textbook of divine rules which, when applied with exactness and prayer, will solve every problem of human experience.
In John's gospel, of the Christ it
is written: "That was the true Light, that lighteth every man that cometh
into the world." What a promise! "Lighteth every man"! Not one,
then, that cannot respond to the ever-present light of Christ. To the Christian
Scientist, Christ is the divine message that forever comes to man from his
eternal Father, the brightness of whose coming to consciousness soothes, purifies,
sweetens, illumines, resurrects. Throughout the ages, Christ raps at the door of
human consciousness, saying, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if
any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup
with him, and he with me." There is no door so tightly closed by sin or
wretchedness that it cannot, through the help of Christian Science, swing open
to let the Christ come in. Paul proved this to be a holy fact. He thought he
was doing right in persecuting the Christians. So firm was he in his
convictions that he stood by and watched Stephen stoned to death. Yet what a
radical and mighty change came to him on that journey to
On every side men are being saved from temptation and vice as Christ comes to consciousness. One striking example stands out early in my experience in Christian Science. I met a man so degraded that his family could not endure his presence in the home. He spent his entire time in the cellar, drinking liquor and taking morphine. I never had seen him. Then came these two questions that have since repeated themselves through the years: How does God know him? How does God love him? An indescribable tenderness flooded my heart as I found my answers in the compassion of the mother-love of God: My Father sees him as His own spiritual expression, the reflection of His spotless purity; as untouched by earth as are the stars. In the twinkling of an eye my sense of the man so changed that I felt led to ask him if he would like to borrow my copy of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. With no apparent interest, he took the book. A few weeks later I saw him again. It was plain that through this book there had "shined around him a light from heaven." He had come out of a mental as well as a material cellar to behold an Easter morn of resurrected consciousness. He was spiritually awake and alive. The desire for morphine had gone. The appetite for liquor had been replaced by a thirst for righteousness. He was humble, satisfied, cleansed. From that time he said, as did Paul, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" He joined with thousands of others who through Christian Science, have learned to say, "I know that my Redeemer liveth." Love is the light of the world. The first beams of the light which was to culminate in the glory of the resurrection morning are seen in one of the sublimest acts in Jesus' earthly life. We read that when the chief priests and the captains of the temple came to take him prisoner, one of his disciples, stirred by indignation, smote the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. Jesus, even in that tragic hour, with knowledge that his crucifixion was at hand, could not be made indifferent to the suffering of another, and with infinite compassion, he touched the ear and healed him. In that act he gave an example of brotherhood that will shine forever as a star to lead men to the Christ. Mortal brutality was powerless to turn his gaze from the light of Love. On the next day he was crucified. Had Jesus allowed his thought to become encased in a tomb of resentment, self-pity, or indignation, there would have been no resurrection, no proof that man is deathless. The ineffable love for God and man, expressed by this healing of the ear, enabled him to rise and break his bonds, and through his resurrection to light for all the living way of Life.
If there is an enemy that we have not forgiven, a wrong that we have not blotted out of memory, may we today so bathe our thoughts in selfless love that we can touch the ear, as did the Master, and help mankind to know that Love alone is light.