Lela May Aultman, C.S.B., of Denver, Colorado
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Introduction by Mrs. Orma Farnham
It is a privilege, friends, to welcome you this evening to a lecture on Christian Science.
The members of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Grants Pass, lovingly sponsor this lecture in our community.
Our lecturer, Lela May Aultman of Denver, Colorado, is a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ Scientist in Boston, Massachusetts.
The lecture is entitled "Christian Science — The Spiritual Challenge to Materialism."
May I now present to you Miss Aultman.
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
These are days when many are believing "anything may happen." On all sides we hear prophecies of evil — from the threat of epidemics or cycles of economic depression, to the possibility of worldwide desolation from war. Have we sufficient spiritual conviction to give us dependable security as we face those threats — all of them claiming that man is at the mercy of materiality in one form or another?
It is ignorance of God which is at the root of all belief in evil. So our defense lies in gaining a spiritual understanding of Him and of His wholly good creation, an understanding which we can demonstrate in daily life by stilling fear, by overcoming limitation and lack of every kind, by healing sickness and conquering sin.
Do we know where to turn for the intelligent ideas which will enable us to prove that good is victorious? Religion must answer these questions if it is to meet the needs of humanity.
Although some phases of evil seem aggressive, actually it is good which holds the initiative; it is good which challenges evil. Truth destroys lies; Love annihilates everything unlike itself; the presence of light makes darkness impossible. And it is the influx of spiritual light in our day which has shaken the very foundations of materialism. Its resistance to its own destruction is the stir we feel in the world.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in "Science and Health with Key to Scriptures," "Mankind must learn that evil is not power. Its so-called despotism is but a phase of nothingness" (p. 102).
It is only those who do not understand the nature of God and His wise, loving government of His creation who are today believing "anything may happen." Consciousness of security comes through knowing God.
Christian Science, when it is earnestly studied and consistently practiced, promotes this sense of security by giving us an understanding of God. In agreement with the Bible it reveals God or good as the one creative Mind, and man and the universe as the emanation of this Mind.
An understanding of this truth can be applied to bless every aspect of daily life. It heals sickness and conquers loneliness, poverty, and sin. These discords are only misconceptions rooted in the belief that either there are two creators, or that a good God, a perfect cause, could produce an evil effect. The discords are healed when we understand that a good God can create only the perfection which expresses His own nature.
Of course, students of Christian Science do not ignore the evils which seem rampant in the world. With the light of spiritual understanding we discern the nature and methods of evil, but we do not cling to them as powerful realities. We see them as false claims, lies about a perfect God and His wholly good creation.
In each period of history some phase of materialism has boasted that it could overthrow spirituality. Mrs. Eddy describes this effort in these words, "The determination to hold Spirit in the grasp of matter is the persecutor of Truth and Love" (Science and Health, p. 28).
What are some of the ways in which this determination expresses itself today? Let us consider four of them: the insistence that man must live under the shadow of fear because his life is material and therefore destructible; that the supply of good necessary to sustain his existence is material, therefore limited and undependable; the suggestion that man's health is dependent on material conditions; and lastly, that man is naturally a sinner, because he is the slave of the material senses.
When we learn to place our trust in God we cannot be afraid. As we come to understand Him to be ever-present divine Mind, we cannot feel alone or undefended. We begin to realize that His infinite love for His children is coupled with His power to preserve them. To know God as divine Love, guiding, protecting, cherishing His creation, is to trust Him completely. There is no room for fear in a trusting heart.
An English woman I know who lived in London during wartime had just that trust. When the city was under almost constant siege, she did not feel that she needed to seek safety in an underground shelter during the night bombing. Her neighbors from the flat above her hastened to the shelters each night. She often met them in the hall and saw the anxiety in their faces and the weariness which had come from night after night spent with the crowds in a shelter and with little or no rest.
They often questioned her about her fearlessness in staying in her home during the air raids, and she told them of her assurance of God's presence and her confidence in His care.
One night when the bombing began she heard her neighbors upstairs, and realized that they had not left for the shelter. The next morning they told her why. They had reasoned that if God were going to take care of her, He would surely keep them safe too, since their flat was above hers. They had been touched by the contagion of her confidence in God, and after that both families remained safely at home during the raids. The consciousness of God's presence and protective care gives assurance of security.
Today a different kind of warfare threatens the world. But almost a century before people became concerned about atomic weapons and their fallout and radiation, Mrs. Eddy had given us the corrective for these fears. She writes, "The material, so-called gases and forces are counterfeits of the spiritual forces of divine Mind, whose potency is Truth, whose attraction is Love, whose adhesion and cohesion are Life, perpetuating the eternal facts of being" (Science and Health, p. 293). So the true forces are not material, but spiritual, and they are perpetuating life, not endangering it.
Is there a truth about radiation? Yes. Then what does true radiation destroy? Not man — not anything that is good or real. Science and Health says of the delusion that life and mind are in matter, "These false beliefs will disappear, when the radiation of Spirit destroys forever all belief in intelligent matter" (p. 556). So — only the delusion that life is material is destroyed by radiation.
Confidence in good is obviously more natural than fear. People are told that the world is about to be destroyed. Yet unless they believe more confidently God's promise of eternal life, would they start new business ventures, build new churches and homes? Unless they shared with David the assurance, "I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord" (Ps. 118:17), would they make sacrifices so their children may have a good education? Education for what? For future usefulness. Does this sound as though they expect to be annihilated tomorrow? It is natural to trust our divine Father-Mother and to say with the Psalmist, "My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him" (Ps. 62:5).
One who understands that nothing can separate him from the love of God feels safe. It is not just being in a safe place humanly, but because he rests in the Psalmist's assurance, "Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations" (Ps. 90:1). Where could he be more secure?
There is a shelter where we know with certainty no enemy, no bombs, no contamination can enter — the consciousness of spiritual reality which excludes all belief in matter or evil.
What assurance does the Bible give us of the safety of this dwelling place? It tells us, "There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth . . . or maketh a lie" (Rev. 21:27).
Christian Science reveals the power of spirituality to challenge and conquer materialism including the fear it provokes. When Jesus taught, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32), he showed us that an understanding of truth, or spiritual reality, is the way of liberation from slavery to materialism. But what more does this promise mean? When we understand spiritual reality, the universe created and governed by a wholly wise and loving God, and we learn our relationship to Him as the very expression of His perfect being, we are not only free from discords; we are free to be as He created us, man — noble, righteous, loving and beloved, spiritually satisfied. This is our heritage. So we are in no danger from the attempted despotism of material so-called forces. They cannot make us afraid.
But we are not asked to accept this point of view through blind faith. The truth Christian Science elucidates is demonstrable. Countless men and women are being freed from anxiety through its study and application. It is not a theory or mere philosophy, but divine law, the very law of God with which Jesus healed.
It is the same law through which Mary Baker Eddy came to know and love God as the governing Principle of the universe, and she gave her life to sharing her understanding of this law with her fellowmen. She proved over and over again that spiritual power challenges and conquers the evils of the material world.
She was persecuted as Jesus was, and for the same reason: the truth she taught made the materialists uncomfortable, and they feared the light. What response did this enmity arouse in her? We have the answer in her own words, "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).
Her firm denunciation of evil combined with love for her fellowman is described by one of her biographers: "She emerged from every encounter as the victor who had stripped her opponent of his venom and covered his defeat with loving-kindness."
An important distinction is made by Christian Science between the Christ, Truth, and Jesus' individual demonstration of the Christ in human life. Mrs. Eddy tells us, "Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness" (Science and Health, p. 332). She speaks of the name, Christ, as alluding to the spirituality which Jesus taught and demonstrated. Jesus' life and teaching were so consistently identified with the Christ that he is given the honored title, Christ Jesus.
As one sits by the window before dawn, he may soon see a faint color touch the soft clouds. Then across the lake the rose glow of sunrise tips the snow-capped mountain peaks, promise of the dawn of a sunlit day whose light and warmth will encompass the whole valley.
Even so comes the Christ, the light of spiritual understanding, to the consciousness spiritually awakening, as gentle and irresistible as the dawn; and in the presence of its illumination the darkness of fear and insecurity fades into oblivion. Then is one's experience free from the impositions of a material belief in sickness, sin or limitation; free to bear witness to the goodness of the divine creator and the spiritual perfection of His creation.
It is the highest clouds and tallest peaks which are first touched by the light. It was his altitude of spiritual consciousness which enabled Jesus to understand and demonstrate the Christ; and it was her exalted spirituality which enabled Mrs. Eddy to receive the clear revelation of the Christ Science. It also enabled her to found the Church of Christ, Scientist, with its worldwide activities designed to enlighten and liberate mankind.
The sunlight has no battle with the darkness. Just by being itself, the light makes darkness impossible. When we identity ourselves with the spiritual glory which is our inheritance from God, we are far above the reach of evil suggestions of materialism. We dwell in conscious spiritual harmony, which is never touched by discord.
It is this spiritualization of thought which brings healing and redemption. This is why the Christian Scientist studies the Bible and Mrs. Eddy's writings daily. From them he learns to understand the nature of God as infinite Love, as creative Mind, as the divine Principle whose law governs the universe. From them he is able to comprehend God's tender relationship to His creation. It is this understanding which comes to the student's rescue in time of need. And when his own study of this Science and faithful application of it heals, he understands that the law of God taught and proved by Christ Jesus and Mrs. Eddy is universally available.
This understanding gives us the power to see and experience the peace of a universe governed by divine Love, right where one under the mesmerism of materialism might believe in conflict and fear.
What are some of the limitations which materialism imposes on humanity, and how are they challenged and overcome by spiritual power? What of the problem of lack, which is rooted in the belief that supply is material and therefore limited?
When a man who believed himself to be a pauper approached Peter and John to ask for alms, they recognized that his need was not for money at all (see Acts 3:1-8). He needed an awakened recognition of his own manhood, his erectness as God's witness, his freedom to be useful and active. They healed his crippled condition, and the man found himself capable of fruitful activity. This was the result of spiritual awakening, the healing effect of Peter's application of the liberating law of divine Love.
When a Christian Scientist faces a problem of limited supply, he immediately turns to God or divine Principle to meet that need. Mrs. Eddy explains to us that our supply comes in the form of spiritual ideas, and that through using them our daily needs are met. When we have turned to God, divine Principle, for supply, we have an obligation to use what we receive in obedience to this Principle.
During a period of extreme economic repression, a couple who had been affluent found their income severely cut. They applied their understanding of Christian Science, praying for God's guidance as to what steps they should take. One day they found this sentence in Science and Health, "Break up cliques, level wealth with honesty, let worth be judged according to wisdom, and we get better views of humanity" (p. 239). They pondered the words, "level wealth with honesty." This statement meant to them as applied to their situation that to be honest they should level their expenses with their income, so they sold their large expensive house, and moved into a modest apartment.
They found that this obedience to Principle opened the door to glorious opportunities, and they soon saw that their horizon had not contracted but expanded, and they were richer than ever before in true wealth, and as a result even had ample human supply.
When, through revealing the abundance of God's giving, Christian Science challenges and defeats the suggestion of lack, it awakens us to utilize wisely what God has already given us. In the Manual of The Mother Church, Mrs. Eddy writes, "God requires wisdom, economy, and brotherly love to characterize all the proceedings of the members of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist" (Art. XXIV, Sect. 5).
Many people have believed that the word "economy" is synonymous with limitation, which it is not. There is nothing in the teaching of Christian Science which advocates a sense of limitation. Economy is a wise use of what we have, in obedience to Principle.
You remember that the widow who cried to Elisha for help, because her two sons were to be taken as bondsmen by their creditors, was first asked by Elisha, "What hast thou in the house?" (II Kings 4:1-7). She had only a pot of oil. The spiritual significance of "oil" as defined in Science and Health is, "Consecration; charity; gentleness; prayer; heavenly inspiration" (p. 592).
When under Elisha's guidance the widow began to utilize and to share what she already had, her eyes were opened to see the affluence of God's love and its human evidence in the abundance of good provided to meet her daily needs.
In Science and Health we are asked, "Are we really grateful for the good already received? Then we shall avail ourselves of the blessings we have, and thus be fitted to receive more" (p. 3).
My own experience bears this out. Following my graduation from a university I went to a large city to seek employment. Here I crossed swords with the suggestion that security is dependent on material conditions, that opportunity and supply are material and therefore uncertain. Day after day I applied to one office after another for work in my chosen profession, and was definitely refused, with no hope held out for future employment.
But the end of each day found me in a Christian Science Reading Room, praying and studying to regain my courage. Next day I started out again with the same disheartening results. One evening while in the Reading Room I asked myself, "What is it about this situation which troubles me most?" My answer was, "Injustice." I knew I had ability, education, and a great willingness to work, but no opportunity to use these talents, and I had seen others filling such positions who seemed to have no better qualifications than my own.
So I began to study references on justice and injustice in both the Bible and Mrs. Eddy's writings. Soon I awakened to the fact that the only injustice in the situation was my unjust view of God.
When I left the Reading Room that evening, there was a song in my heart, praising God for His impartial love which gives all good to His children equally. I knew that man's talent comes from God, and that God utilizes every ability which He gives. I saw that God has a perfect plan for man's progress and usefulness, and that He is of course wise enough to show man his steps in fulfilling this plan.
The next morning I was given just the position I wanted most, and in a company to which I had not even applied.
From this experience I learned that spiritualization of thought dispels material belief in limitation. All that was required was a few clear spiritual ideas, and the closed doors were opened to me. I learned that God bestows all good on His creation continuously. How much we are blessed by it depends upon our receptivity.
A family built a lovely home in an area where they were dependent on a well for their water. Although there was an abundant spring supplying the well, they provided only a very small storage tank, and consequently in the midst of an abundant supply, they always felt the need of skimping in their use of water.
Whenever the temptation comes to us to believe in limitation or lack, we should be ready to refute it by expressing our God-bestowed affluence. It is well for us to ask ourselves, "Is our consciousness open wide with grateful receptivity to welcome the abundant good flowing from the fount of divine Love and to use generously the supply of ideas which He gives us?" God's giving is unlimited and universal.
Christian Science, revealing the all-encompassing love of man's divine creator, challenges and defeats the material suggestions of lack of companionship as well as those of lack of supply. Loneliness is one of the bitterest forms of lack. But our loving Father-Mother God could no more permit the heartache of unsatisfied longings in His creation than He could cause or tolerate any kind of suffering.
We may think that our need is for companionship, and believe that loneliness can only be healed by the love others express to us. But we find the answer to such a problem as we begin to watch for opportunities to reflect divine Love in thoughtfulness of others, in generous appreciation of the good expressed by our neighbor, in joy in the blessings which come to our associates. It is then we give evidence that Love is a presence in our life, not an absence. Whenever we believe we are unloved, our only need is to express love more abundantly. And we will find the sense of loneliness dissipated.
As a little girl a woman I know was incapacitated by a crippling sickness. She was only able to attend school for less than two years. And her suffering so separated her from normal companionship that she grew painfully shy.
Her almost constant sickness was believed to have affected her heart, and at the age of ten she was wheeled around in a chair. The doctors told her parents that even if she lived, she probably would lose the use of her legs. When this prediction came true, her mother heard of Christian Science. A great burden of fear and heavy responsibility was lifted from her thought when she attended a Christian Science lecture. But it was only after she later attended church services that she realized that Christian Science could also heal as well as comfort.
The very next Sunday she took the child to the Sunday School and the little girl felt that this was the first cruel thing her mother had ever done to her. She could not believe that her mother would force her to meet people — she was so shy and afraid to talk to anyone. For the first few Sundays she did not even hear the truth taught in the class because of her fear and resentment. The Sunday School teacher prayed earnestly to meet the little girl's need, and on the sixth day of attendance the child suddenly became aware of her saying, "Sickness is a dream, and when we awaken from a dream, we don't need to suffer from it anymore."
This aroused the child's thought, and when she returned home she told her mother she was completely well. Her class had been taught that the only reality is God's goodness, which is expressed in the health, freedom, and joy of His children. They learned that the belief that material conditions can enslave men and rob them of God's blessing could never be anything but an illusion. Her mother, only too willing to believe, listened to the child saying, "It is all over now. It wasn't true, but only a dream. I am perfect now."
That very day the little girl was learning to ride a bicycle, and immediately with the full support of her mother she proceeded to make up for lost time. Very soon all her shyness disappeared, and in a matter of weeks she was finding great joy in companionship with other children, and in all the usual activities of girls of her age — with one exception: she was doing everything twice as quickly as everyone else. She never walked if there was an opportunity to run. As time went on, she played tennis, became the fastest runner on the forward line of her hockey team, and she was soon climbing mountains. This was absolute proof of her complete healing.
All this time she was attending the Sunday School, and loving every minute of it. Through her study of the Bible and Science and Health, she was gaining a deeper understanding of God, which never deserted her. This was to be expected since Science and Health gives the definite rule by which the Christ, Truth, can be demonstrated by every faithful student. It so corrects material belief that it both heals and prevents disease.
As we have seen, the truth revealed in Christian Science is the same liberating compassionate law of God which Jesus taught and proved. When he healed a man who had been born blind, he annulled the theological doctrine or medical belief that an innocent child could be penalized because his parents had sinned. He proved that man's true inheritance is not material, but is the good he receives from his divine creator.
Jesus, looking upon individuals who appeared to others as sick mortals, could see through this false evidence and behold the real man who is God's likeness, therefore spiritual and perfect. He understood this truth so clearly that he was able to prove it to be the only reality. This erased the false, discordant symptoms and the individual expressed normal health visible even to those who previously had seen him as sick.
How do we know the Master's view was correct, and the evidence of the material senses mistaken when these senses said the man was blind? Because Jesus' correct view healed the man of blindness. When John the Baptist sent messengers to ask Jesus, "Art thou he that should come?" (Luke 7:19-22), his answer gave the proof of his God-appointed ministry by referring to the healing works that he did in applying God's law.
How do we know that the teachings of Christian Science are correct? Because they enable us to comprehend and demonstrate the reality of health right where the befooled materialist sees sickness and suffering.
The last chapter in Science and Health, called "Fruitage," tells of healings accomplished solely through the study of this book. Among the physical conditions healed are fibroid tumor, spinal trouble, broken bones, cataract, heart trouble, cancer — many of the cases healed very quickly.
What takes place during the reading of this book, which so changes the thinking of the individual that it frees him from sickness, from discord of every kind? The truth taught in Science and Health spiritualizes the consciousness of those who understand its revelation. It brings to humanity the inspired interpretation of the Bible, and teaches the Christ, Truth, which Jesus understood and lived.
Mrs. Eddy explains in Science and Health that physical healing is not the primary purpose of Christian Science. She says of such healings, "Now, as then, signs and wonders are wrought in the metaphysical healing of physical disease; but these signs are only to demonstrate its divine origin, — to attest the reality of the higher mission of the Christ-power to take away the sins of the world" (p. 150).
Anything which stains our purity, clouds our intelligence, or silences our natural inclination to do right, is sin, according to the standard of Christian Science. Utilization of the spiritual power of the Christ, Truth, frees men not only from immorality as it is generally defined, but from indulgence in the appetite for alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and narcotics. They are believed to be habit-forming and so to enslave men, but it is in accord with the law of God that man should be free.
Mrs. Eddy counsels us, "Know, then, that you possess sovereign power to think and act rightly, and that nothing can dispossess you of this heritage and trespass on Love" (Pulpit and Press, p. 3). Then we can paraphrase Paul's words and say with firm conviction, "The good that I would, I do; and the evil that I would not, I do not." God gives us this power.
I know a man for whom two types of healing, liberation from harmful appetites and from sickness, went hand-in-hand. While serving in France during the First World War, he was shellshocked and injured in the right knee. During the years which followed, his health seemed to be affected more and more. Eventually he had to go into a military hospital and the surgeon said he needed to perform a major operation. The patient refused when he was told that no guarantee could be given that he would have the full use of his leg. He was dismissed and given a disability pension for life.
Later the condition worsened in all aspects. The doctor ordered him to take sedative tablets night and morning, and said he would not be responsible for the man's actions if he failed to do so.
About this time his wife met Christian Scientists, who told her about this healing truth and advised her to get help from a Christian Science practitioner.
In the first interview with the practitioner the patient began to understand that man created in God's image is free, sinless, and noble. He was instantaneously healed of the intoxicating drink habit, and all drugging was also given up from that day. In a few weeks his leg was healed. Several months later his nervous condition was completely overcome, and he was healed as well of the tobacco habit.
The light of the Christ, Truth, which spiritualized his thought freed him from a concept of himself as sick and a sinner. Instead he glimpsed the spiritual reality, saw himself as spiritual, beloved of God, free to express normal health and right activity. This annulled his fear, and with it the enslaving appetites and disease which had accompanied it.
Jesus' teaching includes denunciation of the materialism of his era, corrects hypocrisy through righteousness, lust for power through humility, and cruelty through love. Because he understood God as Life, and man to be Life's expression, Jesus could raise the dead, and even conquer death in his own experience. The false evidence of the material senses could not hide from him God's goodness nor the changeless perfection of His creation.
The Christian Scientist does not close his eyes to the efforts of materialism to control his life. He does not let himself become victimized by them. Mrs. Eddy counsels, "Watch, and pray daily that evil suggestions, in whatever guise, take no root in your thought nor bear fruit. Ofttimes examine yourselves, and see if there be found anywhere a deterrent of Truth and Love, and 'hold fast that which is good'" (The First Church of Christ Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 128).
Note that she does not say, "Cling to the evil that you have discerned, identify yourself with it, and condemn yourself for it." When we have discerned the evil, we denounce it, correct it, reject it, and "hold fast that which is good." Mrs. Eddy writes, "You must find error to be nothing: then, and only then, do you handle it in Science" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 334).
One day as I stood on a hillside enjoying the view of the mountains and forests, a mist formed over a lake in the valley and began to creep up the hill. One by one, the mountains and trees disappeared. Did I believe they no longer existed? My intelligence knew they were there, and material sense testimony could not overrule that knowing.
The first chapter of Genesis reveals God's creation as spiritual and perfect. In the second chapter we are told of a mist arising from the earth, and a misconception of man, as sinful and made from dust, claims to hide the spiritual creation. But can we be made to believe that God's man and His perfect universe no longer exist? What dispels the mist and reveals the perfection which was always there? The clear light of the Christ, Truth.
Through revealing this light Christian Science lifts from humanity the burden of sin and condemnation which are produced by the mist or misconception of man, and brings the assurance of his sinless, holy nature, the exact image or reflection of God who is Soul. When an individual sees himself in this way, he understands and respects his own spiritual nobility as God's witness. He therefore cannot be tempted to sin, but is satisfied with the abundant good bestowed on him by his divine Father.
The writer of the book of Revelation saw in a vision that the coming of God's angel message would cause the seven thunders to utter their own voices — in other words, would cause evil to reveal its own nature.
This evening we have spoken of the advance of spirituality and its victory over evil. Christian Science challenges the illusions of materialism and frees humanity from their mesmerism. It teaches that since God, good, is the supreme and only governing power in the universe, there is no material force which can make man afraid for his life. God alone is Life, and man is His reflection, therefore man's life is eternal, indestructible.
Christian Science conquers limitation and lack in all its forms by revealing the impartial nature of divine Love, its bounty and ceaseless outpouring of blessings.
This divine theology proves that health is not dependent upon material conditions. It heals spiritually, as Jesus healed, showing that health and not sickness is God's will for man.
Spiritualization of thought lifts each individual above material sense and temptation. It is the realization that man is the reflection of God who is Soul, expressing throughout eternity Soul's purity, holiness, and grace. It is the awakening to the truth of the Scriptural teaching that man cannot be a sinner, because he is born of God. (See I John 3:9)
A Christian Scientist does not ignore evil. He overcomes it through his understanding of the specific spiritual fact which corrects each specific claim of evil. Instead of being fascinated with its discordant claims, he sees them as false accusations against a good God and His good creation. He turns from these lies, and contemplates instead the glory of God, the beauty and purity of His creation, and knows this to be the only reality.
A friend of mine, a Christian Scientist, found it necessary to take a train very early one morning. The train had neither sleeping car nor diner. The coach she entered was filled with passengers still sleeping, everything dirty and in disorder.
At first she felt almost ill, and was rebellious at circumstances which had forced her into such a situation. Then she realized that she did not have to remain in that unpleasant atmosphere; she knew it was not her real environment.
She took out paper and pencil and wrote an essay, which was later published in The Christian Science Monitor. In it she described the beauty of the view from her window, the dawn breaking through the darkness, the glimpses of the rising sun through the trees, the glowing colors reflected on the ponds, the fields of grain turning gold. Many who read it said to the author, "What a wonderful time you had on that journey!" And she could answer sincerely, "Yes, I did."
Mrs. Eddy tells us, "The real Christ was unconscious of matter, of sin, disease, and death, and was conscious only of God, of good, of eternal Life, and harmony. Hence the human Jesus had a resort to his higher self and relation to the Father, and there could find rest from unreal trials in the conscious reality and royalty of his being, — holding the mortal as unreal, and the divine as real" (No and Yes, p. 36).
When the critical demands of our times seem overwhelming, we, too, can say, "I don't have to stay here." Remembering that our environment is our state of consciousness, we can enjoy the harmony of God's presence, in which there are no conflicts. As we let its glory fill our thoughts, we are safe, for into this sanctuary of Soul, no evil can enter. Herein is no activity save the omniaction of good, silencing the turmoil of materialism. One God reigns supreme. One force operates — the power of God, good.
©1965 Lela May Aultman
All rights reserved
[Delivered under the auspices of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Grants Pass, Oregon, and published in The Bulletin of Grants Pass, Oct. 7, 1965.]