Our Search for Identity (Summary)
Norman B. Holmes, C.S.B., of Chicago, Illinois
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Life need not be a mingling of good and evil, hardships, and empty promises, says Norman B. Holmes, C.S.B., of Chicago.
Christ Jesus, states this Christian Science lecturer, turned away from outward appearances to God in order to transform and uplift the human scene.
Mr. Holmes spoke Monday at a lecture sponsored by First Church of Christ, Scientist. The title of the lecture was "Our Search for Identity."
Merely looking into the maze of personal problems in search of satisfaction, fulfillment, and identity, he explained, is to misdirect our energies. By learning more of God as the source of man's identity, men find their energies renewed and their lives expanding in meaning and purpose, Mr. Holmes continued.
To illustrate his point, the lecturer told of a young man with a Master's degree in education who could not find work in his chosen profession. He finally took a job as a laborer in a city park system. His wife had to work as a school teacher in another state to help support the family.
The young man's real need, Mr. Holmes said, was to see himself as God saw him rather than just accepting such factors as lack of opportunity and a cramped sense of purpose and identity.
The lecturer said that a Christian Science practitioner helped the man to see that his real, or God-given, identity was useful and satisfying, that it was really an expression of God's creative activity. Such prayerful "God-oriented reasoning," Mr. Holmes said, led the man to satisfying work in his profession and reunited his family.
It was this man's prayerful discernment of his God-established identity that solved his employment and family problems, Mr. Holmes commented.
Identity problems, the lecturer acknowledged, come in many packages. Students, housewives, businessmen, school teachers, and others, he said, face their own peculiar problems.
A common factor in all identity problems, he said, is the tendency of people to relate themselves to external circumstances. This puts limitations on their identity and their potential usefulness, Mr. Holmes said.
Progressive living, he stated, comes when men follow the example of Christ Jesus in accepting God as their "divine source," as the originator of real identity. Mr. Holmes pointed out that because Jesus was so well acquainted with God, his divine source, his life had direction and purpose.
He then quoted Jesus' statement, "I know whence I came, and whither I go" (John 8:14).
"Jesus knew that his own healing power, the might of his teachings, his every capacity, had their source in God," Mr. Holmes said.
Jesus' understanding of God as Father, as the real creator of man, he continued, "gave him a sense of identity more meaningful and more effective in action than any the world had ever known."
The Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, gives "clear insight into the meaning of Jesus' teaching," the lecturer stated. Christian Science uses and explains terms for God such as Love, Life, and divine Mind, that have their basis in the Bible, he explained. These terms, when understood, help one to establish a close relationship to God and thereby clarify one's sense of identity, he continued.
This way of life is much more than blind enthusiasm, Mr. Holmes said. It can be the answer to the despair and expediency that often accompany a materialistic sense of life, he told his audience.
[Delivered March 24, 1969, at First Church of Christ, Scientist, Tarrytown, New York, and published in The Daily News of Tarrytown, March 26, 1969.]