een openbaring, van moment tot moment, geluk en vreugde, kracht, goedheid, prestatie
een herder, met zijn kudde
de schapen in zijn armen dragen
nooit moe, altijd voedend, altijd zorgzaam
allemaal in harmonie,
allemaal in vrede
alles in gezondheid
Er is liefde, vrede en harmonie. Spirit is compleet, gezond, er kan niets aan worden toegevoegd, er kan niets worden weggenomen. Geest staat tegenover mij, de mens is zijn spiegelbeeld.
Original date: January 25, 1920
Current date: January 27, 2019
Golden Text: Psalms 57:3, 5. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth. Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth.
Responsive Reading: — Proverbs 16:1-3, 6-8, 13, 16, 17, 19.
1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord.
2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits.
3 Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.
6 By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil.
7 When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
8 Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.
13 Righteous lips are the delight of kings; and they love him that speaketh right.
16 How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!
17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.
19 Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.
The following Citations comprise our Sermon.
The Holy Bible
King James Bible
(1) Matt 11:25, 26
At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.
(2) Luke 13:20, 21
And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.
(3) John 8:31, 32
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,
by Mary Baker Eddy
Truth is a revelation. Jesus bade his disciples beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees, which he defined as human doctrines. His parable of the “leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened,” impels the inference that the spiritual leaven signifies the Science of Christ and its spiritual interpretation, — an inference far above the merely ecclesiastical and formal applications of the illustration.
To seek Truth through belief in a human doctrine is not to understand the infinite. We must not seek the immutable and immortal through the finite, mutable, and mortal, and so depend upon belief instead of demonstration, for this is fatal to a knowledge of Science. The understanding of Truth gives full faith in Truth, and spiritual understanding is better than all burnt offerings.
Strangely enough, we ask for material theories in support of spiritual and eternal truths, when the two are so antagonistic that the material thought must become spiritualized before the spiritual fact is attained.
A Christian Scientist requires my work SCIENCE AND HEALTH for his textbook, and so do all his students and patients. Why? First: Because it is the voice of Truth to this age, and contains the full statement of Christian Science, or the Science of healing through Mind. Second: Because it was the first book known, containing a thorough statement of Christian Science. Hence it gave the first rules for demonstrating this Science, and registered the revealed Truth uncontaminated by human hypotheses.
(4) Matt 13:18-23
Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
A germ of infinite Truth, though least in the kingdom of heaven, is the higher hope on earth, but it will be rejected and reviled until God prepares the soil for the seed.
(6) 272:3-8, 13
The spiritual sense of truth must be gained before Truth can be understood. This sense is assimilated only as we are honest, unselfish, loving, and meek. In the soil of an “honest and good heart” the seed must be sown; else it beareth not much fruit, for the swinish element in human nature uproots it. Jesus’ parable of “the sower” shows the care our Master took not to impart to dull ears and gross hearts the spiritual teachings which dulness and grossness could not accept. Reading the thoughts of the people, he said: “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine.”
There is a large class of thinkers whose bigotry and conceit twist every fact to suit themselves. Their creed teaches belief in a mysterious, supernatural God, and in a natural, all-powerful devil. Another class, still more unfortunate, are so depraved that they appear to be innocent. They utter a falsehood, while looking you blandly in the face, and they never fail to stab their benefactor in the back. A third class of thinkers build with solid masonry. They are sincere, generous, noble, and are therefore open to the approach and recognition of Truth. To teach Christian Science to such as these is no task. They do not incline longingly to error, whine over the demands of Truth, nor play the traitor for place and power.
The unbiased Christian thought is soonest touched by Truth, and convinced of it. Only those quarrel with her method who do not understand her meaning, or discerning the truth, come not to the light lest their works be reproved. No intellectual proficiency is requisite in the learner, but sound morals are most desirable.
(5) Matt 6:1-4, 16-18, 24
Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
(9) 452:18-20, 22-26
Right is radical. The teacher must know the truth himself. He must live it and love it, or he cannot impart it to others. When the spiritual sense of Truth unfolds its harmonies, you take no risks in the policy of error. Expect to heal simply by repeating the author’s words, by right talking and wrong acting, and you will be disappointed.
Better suffer a doctor infected with smallpox to attend you than to be treated mentally by one who does not obey the requirements of divine Science. The teachers of schools and the readers in churches should be selected with as direct reference to their morals as to their learning or their correct reading. Nurseries of character should be strongly garrisoned with virtue. School-examinations are one-sided; it is not so much academic education, as a moral and spiritual culture, which lifts one higher. The pure and uplifting thoughts of the teacher, constantly imparted to pupils, will reach higher than the heavens of astronomy; while the debased and unscrupulous mind, though adorned with gems of scholarly attainment, will degrade the characters it should inform and elevate.
In founding a pathological system of Christianity, the author has labored to expound divine Principle, and not to exalt personality. The weapons of bigotry, ignorance, envy, fall before an honest heart. Adulterating Christian Science, makes it void. Falsity has no foundation. “The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.” Neither dishonesty nor ignorance ever founded, nor can they overthrow a scientific system of ethics.
(6) Matt 11:1-5
And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
(7) Matt 20:30-34
And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David. And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David. And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you? They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.
The question, What is Truth, is answered by demonstration, — by healing both disease and sin; and this demonstration shows that Christian healing confers the most health and makes the best men.
Willing the sick to recover is not the metaphysical practice of Christian Science, but is sheer animal magnetism. Human will-power may infringe the rights of man. It produces evil continually, and is not a factor in the realism of being. Truth, and not corporeal will, is the divine power which says to disease, “Peace, be still.”
Scientific healing has this advantage over other methods, — that in it Truth controls error. From this fact arise its ethical as well as its physical effects. Indeed, its ethical and physical effects are indissolubly connected.
“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” If you have more faith in drugs than in Truth, this faith will incline you to the side of matter and error. Any hypnotic power you may exercise will diminish your ability to become a Scientist, and vice versa. The act of healing the sick through divine Mind alone, of casting out error with Truth, shows your position as a Christian Scientist.
The unchristian practitioner is not giving to mind or body the joy and strength of Truth. The poor suffering heart needs its rightful nutriment, such as peace, patience in tribulation, and a priceless sense of the dear Father’s loving-kindness.
(8) Matt 10:32-39
Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
To obey the Scriptural command, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate,” is to incur society’s frown; but this frown, more than flatteries, enables one to be Christian. Losing her crucifix, the Roman Catholic girl said, “I have nothing left but Christ.” “If God be for us, who can be against us?” To fall away from Truth in times of persecution, shows that we never understood Truth.
Centuries ago religionists were ready to hail an anthropomorphic God, and array His vicegerent with pomp and splendor; but this was not the manner of truth’s appearing. Of old the cross was truth’s central sign, and it is to-day. The modern lash is less material than the Roman scourge, but it is equally as cutting. Cold disdain, stubborn resistance, opposition from church, state laws, and the press, are still the harbingers of truth’s full-orbed appearing.
If you venture upon the quiet surface of error and are in sympathy with error, what is there to disturb the waters? What is there to strip off error’s disguise? If you launch your bark upon the ever-agitated but healthful waters of truth, you will encounter storms. Your good will be evil spoken of. This is the cross. Take it up and bear it, for through it you win and wear the crown.
The infinite Truth of the Christ-cure has come to this age through a “still, small voice,” through silent utterances and divine anointing which quicken and increase the beneficial effects of Christianity. I long to see the consummation of my hope, namely, the student’s higher attainments in this line of light.
(9) I Kings 2:1-4
Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying, I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man; And keep the charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself: That the Lord may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel.
(10) Ps 132:12
If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore.
(11) III John 1:1, 3, 4
The elder unto the well-beloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
(21) 487:3-6 Life is the
Life is the origin and ultimate of man, never attainable through death, but gained by walking in the pathway of Truth both before and after that which is called death.
If Truth is overcoming error in your daily walk and conversation, you can finally say, “I have fought a good fight . . . I have kept the faith,” because you are a better man. This is having our part in the at-one-ment with Truth and Love.
Jesus bore our infirmities; he knew the error of mortal belief, and “with his stripes [the rejection of error] we are healed.” “Despised and rejected of men,” returning blessing for cursing, he taught mortals the opposite of themselves, even the nature of God; and when error felt the power of Truth, the scourge and the cross awaited the great Teacher. Yet he swerved not, well knowing that to obey the divine order and trust God, saves retracing and traversing anew the path from sin to holiness.
If we wish to follow Christ, Truth, it must be in the way of God’s appointing.
When understanding changes the standpoints of life and intelligence from a material to a spiritual basis, we shall gain the reality of Life, the control of Soul over sense, and we shall perceive Christianity, or Truth, in its divine Principle.
What’s Your Greatest Need?
William Henry Alton, C.S.B., of New York, New York
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
“Our very success or failure in living depends on knowing right from wrong, and living the right,” William Henry Alton, C.S.B., of New York City, told an audience in Boston on Sunday afternoon.
The lecturer explained that in a world of lawlessness and fluctuating moral values the great demand on each individual today is spiritual — “to bring our thinking and our lives into accord with our true nature, into accord with what God created man to be, and not settle for an ungodlike selfhood, controlled by evil.”
A member of The Christian Science Board of Lectureship, Mr. Alton spoke in The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.
Mr. Alton held several executive posts in business and industry before devoting his full time to the healing ministry of the Church of Christ, Scientist. He is also a teacher of Christian Science.
The title of his lecture was “What’s Your Greatest Need?” He was introduced by Mrs. Virginia Stopfel of Newtonville, Massachusetts. An abridged text of his lecture follows:
Some of you may have seen a cartoon in one of our popular magazines. It shows a man about to leave his house. His wife is holding a sawed-off shotgun and he’s saying to her, “Now cover me, I’m going to the store for some bread.”
Actually, this is a very unfunny reminder of the lawlessness and moral confusion going on in one form or another throughout the world. It’s part of a great stir and loss of values which appear to have taken over. We need only look at the captions in our newspapers — the crime, pollution, dishonesty in politics and government, gambling, squandering of natural resources, sexual permissiveness.
Psychologists tell us this kind of behavior is the result of despair over the future, particularly among youth, a kind of “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die” attitude — a kind of “the end justifies the means” approach to things.
There are others who contend that some of what’s going on is good, that it’s simply evidence of greater tolerance, and freedom to do what one wants to do. At the other end of the spectrum we find those who believe that dry rot has set in which imperils our very civilization. And it all adds up to the fact that people have no agreed-to standard for measuring right and wrong, and no awareness of what penalties they may be incurring.
A spiritual basis
Our purpose today is to examine this whole question of morality, of right and wrong — to show that there’s a spiritual basis for evaluating conduct and morality, and how to go about dealing with wrong thinking and acting — in ourselves, and in our world. There’s no more vital subject affecting our lives. Our very success or failure in living depends on knowing right from wrong, and living the right.
A recent book by Dr. Karl Menninger, a founder of the Menninger Psychiatric Clinic in Kansas, is most interesting. It’s entitled, “Whatever Became of Sin?” He discusses the problems of morality and conduct we’ve touched upon, and makes what sounds like an old-fashioned diagnosis — that the culprit is sin. Actually sin has become almost an archaic word — and Dr. Menninger’s purpose in the book is to restore the use of the word “sin” — not for the word’s sake, but to reintroduce a sense of moral responsibility in the hearts of individuals — to make us face up to our sins — a must, he believes, if all the worldwide moral disturbance is to be corrected.
There are many voices crying out today on this subject of sin: columnists, educators, as well as religionists — people that have vision, and love for their brother man. In fact a number of our country’s think-tank groups rate law and morality as one of the 10 greatest needs confronting mankind!
Of course, there’s nothing new about pointing the finger at sin. In Bible times Jesus and Paul stressed over and over again the importance of dealing with sin. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, urges her followers to give daily attention to overcoming sin. In fact sin is a word she uses over a thousand times in her writings, and she makes the arresting statement that “The emphatic purpose of Christian Science is the healing of sin.” (“Rudimental Divine Science.” p. 2).
After pondering what these thinkers have to say, we begin to see that much of the trouble and wrongdoing in the world are only the visible tip of the iceberg, that underneath lies the hidden basic evil — sin — that’s victimizing mankind. And it’s sin we’ve been almost totally ignoring.
Just what is sin? Probably one of the clearest definitions is from Cruden’s Bible Concordance which defines sin as “any thought, word, action, omission, or desire, contrary to the law of God.” To sin, then, is to think or act contrary to God in any way. To lose sight of God is to sin. When you get right down to it, sin consists of ungodlike thoughts — evil impulses such as hate, dishonesty, fear, selfishness, sensuality, and malice. Such thoughts are always harmful, and they’re sinful because they deny God’s presence and power.
The big question is, do we have to wait for drastic changes in the world and ourselves in order to deal with all this evil? Fortunately, no. We just have to change our concept of what the world and man really are — change it radically!
Upside down universe
The great demand on each one of us today is spiritual — to bring our thinking and our lives into accord with our true nature, into accord with what God created man to be, and not settle for an ungodlike selfhood, controlled by evil. When we think imperfection or evil or disease is true about ourselves or someone else, when we accept that man is physical, and inherently selfish, weak, violent, animal-like, we’re accepting an upside down universe as the reality. And such thinking is sinful because we’ve lost sight of God and man made in God’s image and likeness — we’ve denied God’s perfect spiritual universe, totally good. The outcome of this misconception of man and the universe is violence, smoke-filled skies, poisoned lakes, and immoral lives and neighborhoods. But the radical truth is that man is spiritual, Godlike. God’s presence and power fill the universe — a presence which includes only divine qualities such as love, goodness, integrity, purity, harmony, abundance, everywhere present.
Without understanding this spiritual standard, right and wrong cannot be properly evaluated, nor today’s problems solved. Right living and acting are the result of each of us accepting in every way what God and man really are, and reasoning out from this premise.
Idealistic? Not at all — very practical. We can take our cue from the lives recorded in the Bible. From Abraham to Moses all the way to Jesus and John, spiritually minded thinkers caught glorious views of perfection right where the physical senses reported evil to be going on. They were able to penetrate through the evil to the underlying presence of spiritual good all around. For example, the Psalmist, surrounded by trouble, spoke of lying down in green pastures, beside the still waters (Ps. 23:2). Jesus told of the kingdom of heaven, a glorious state of consciousness which he said is here, and now. In the book of Revelation, John wrote, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea” (Rev. 21:1).
The inspired religious leaders were experiencing a very different set of life-conditions from those around them — peace, and joy, and goodness, right where an uninspired human consciousness was finding only trouble and violence. Why? Because they knew Godlike conditions are the true spiritual conditions everywhere, are always present, and concretely evident to the spiritual consciousness that knows God. Whatever else suggests a single element of evil is a mirage, a misconception, a lie.
Stages of consciousness
Mrs. Eddy explains this in her textbook “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “. . . the heavens and earth to one human consciousness, that consciousness which God bestows, are spiritual, while to another, the unillumined human mind, the vision is material. This shows unmistakably that what the human mind terms matter and spirit indicates states and stages of consciousness.” And she adds: “… we can become conscious, here and now, of a cessation of death, sorrow, and pain. . . . When you read this, remember Jesus’ words, ‘The kingdom of God is within you.’ This spiritual consciousness is therefore a present possibility” (p. 573).
Mrs. Eddy adopted the Biblical term “Soul” for God, Soul meaning spiritual consciousness and expressing itself in spiritual sense, the sense we’ve just touched upon and that David experienced when he said of God, “He restoreth my soul” (Ps. 23:3). Soul, God, is the infinite divine consciousness which provides His expression, man, with the awareness of all that’s spiritual, beautiful, harmonious, pure, loving, tender. This is the kingdom of God, where God’s nature is revealed as the only presence, without a single evil or sinful element. Ungodlike qualities which seem present around us are apparent only to physical sense, and are the illusion. Man as Soul’s expression knows only what Soul knows — never sordidness, violence, animality. What Soul knows is his only real surrounding, environment, and desire!
This is the truth about man as God created him. It’s the true, wonderful Godlike consciousness and identity of every single individual, here, everywhere. We don’t have to make it true — it IS true right this moment. To believe otherwise is to sin, because such thinking denies God and His goodness as everywhere present. Soul and Soul’s universe alone is here, now. God’s man — you and I as we really are — is spiritual, Godlike, conscious only of Spirit. We live in this atmosphere of Soul and are totally satisfied. Man as the embodiment of Soul’s qualities is sinless, secure, Love-motivated. As we hold to these facts, and accept no other view of ourselves or anyone else, we get tuned in. The new heaven and earth appear. Our human experience bears evidence to these wonders.
A healing of dishonesty
Let me illustrate. A young couple had a little baby born with club feet. The father was employed as a loan officer for a bank, and in order to pay for the baby’s surgical operations, he arranged loans to himself under a fictitious name. The loans piled up until finally he was arrested and indicted. What should he do?
Just before his trial, he recalled how as a child he’d visited a Christian Science Sunday School. He remembered hearing something about finding spiritual solutions to problems. He came to me as a Christian Science practitioner seeking such an answer to his problem.
I began to pray scientifically about the situation. I declared understandingly that only spiritual sense could report the true facts about the situation: perfect God and perfect man in His likeness; that because this spiritual man is Godlike, upright, he is subject only to God’s divine law, which is always just. I knew that in Soul’s spiritual universe of ideas, there was no such thing as a weak mortal, but only the man of integrity, courage, goodness. I knew that these spiritual facts, when recognized, always appear in human experience in the form of right and just solutions. The young father, willing to do his part, turned to the Christian Science textbook to learn more about God, and himself as God’s sinless son. He recognized his mistaken thinking and action, that he’d been motivated by misguided love, not by dishonesty. And in weakness he had turned to evil for an answer. He had sinned by denying God’s power and ever-presence.
He was repentant, and ready to pay his debt. Well, the trial turned out very differently from what even the defense attorney had dared hope. Instead of the minimum of five years in prison which such a crime draws, he was given a one-year suspended sentence. Wasn’t this a sure sign of God’s grace, and that this man’s moral sense had been restored, and reformation had taken place? What was this young father’s greatest need? Money? No, it was to know God, Soul; that Soul had in store for him and his family the spiritual and moral answer to every human need, including perfect healing.
I know of a similar situation to the one just mentioned — Christian Science friends — whose baby, too, was born with club feet. One leg was also an inch or so shorter than the other. This couple knew their greatest need. They turned immediately to God, to spiritual sense, to learn what was true about God and man. They searched for a deeper understanding of the universe of Soul, and Soul’s man forever expressing every spiritual quality: symmetry, usefulness, activity, beauty — never a malformed bundle of flesh and bones. It was a wonderful experience to see these qualities gradually appear — the re-forming of those tiny feet and a lengthening of the shortened limb — without any material aid whatsoever! In due time the child was able to walk entirely normally.
When Mary Baker Eddy discovered the spiritually scientific method of dealing with sin she was in a very serious condition as a result of an accident. Confined to her bed, expected to die, she naturally turned to her Bible and opened to the account of Jesus’ healing of the palsied man. You’ll remember Jesus said, “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. . . . Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house” (Matt. 9:2,6,7).
Now she’d read this dramatic healing many times before. But this time she suddenly glimpsed the wonderful truth that had triggered the healing — the recognition that man’s real God-created nature could never be sinful, but is forever the image of God: spiritual, pure, perfect, and entirely good! It was the palsied man’s acceptance of himself as a paralyzed physical mortal — in other words sinful thinking — that had held him incapacitated! He’d accepted a status diametrically opposite to man made in God’s image and likeness. And Jesus’ recognition of the error of this thinking, and his conviction of the man’s real spiritual identity, healed him. The man’s true, unrestricted nature immediately surfaced — he got up and walked! When Mrs. Eddy read this account, she realized, these spiritual facts were equally true of her — she, too, as the image of perfect God, Spirit, was spiritual and sinless. And she got up and walked! Her complete healing came in a relatively short time.
But her spiritual research didn’t stop here. For several years she devoted her full time to enlarging her understanding of the Soul-consciousness which is God. Through living with the Scriptures her inspired thought perceived that man is the reflected consciousness of God, and he therefore knows only what God knows. Through her writings she shows you and me how sinful suggestions of a man and universe burdened with trouble disappear in the light of spiritual understanding.
Unless religion is relevant and demonstrable, all we have is a beautiful philosophy, but no remedy. So how does spiritual understanding deal with the awful conditions our media report today — crime, pollution, dishonesty? How does spiritual understanding tackle the pervasive materially centered immoral standard that says anything goes? What can we do?
Qualities of Soul
We can do much. First, we must examine our own thinking. How do we identify ourselves, materially, or spiritually? Are we part of this immoral problem, or part of its solution? Are we looking to Soul for all our needs? To have our desires spiritualized, our natures transformed? Then, Soul’s qualities of joy and satisfaction, beauty and happiness, will appear.
Secondly, out of our rich overflow we can lift others to clearer views of their own heritage as the image and likeness of God, Soul. The combined scientific prayer of those in this room alone can work wonders! But we must first make our own spiritual heaven and earth secure. And out of our lives will come the power to lift up the world.
Jesus had made this clear about himself — that the Christ is his divine and only nature, Christ meaning the pure expression of God, totally spiritual and incorruptible. And it was the Soul-power inherent in this Christ identity that made his prayers effective, for himself and others. It’s our sinless Christ identity which guides and motivates us. This Christ identity can’t be touched by anything evil, anything material. It knows and experiences nothing but perfection.
Going back for a moment to Jesus’ healing of the palsied man, Jesus didn’t just say, “Thy sins be forgiven thee” but also “Arise, take up thy bed.” He healed him! In order to heal any evil, physical or moral, sin must be destroyed. How then do we destroy evil and sin? As Jesus did — by separating so-called evil from individuals, by seeing the evil as an impersonal lie and the individual as the perfect expression of perfect God. This is spiritual seeing — Soul-seeing! This destroys the evil on the basis of its nothingness. Jesus said of evil, “he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44). Think of it — a liar and the father of it! A superb description for sin — a misconception, zero, a nothing. Jesus was simply being obedient to the first commandment to have one God only, one power, and that one wholly spiritual and good. He destroyed any belief in a second so-called power named evil by recognizing it to be a bluff, a lie, zero. To think otherwise is sinful thinking.
No room left for evil
Certainly if we acknowledge God as all good, and man as reflected goodness, where’s any room left for another power, an opposing power called evil, to exist? That is, to exist except as a suggestion! Here’s where our part comes in. Do we accept the evil as real and powerful, or do we reject it as totally unfounded, untrue? Jesus condemned and rejected it! When we do this too, we have only one power left — good!
What we’ve been leading up to here is vital — how spiritual understanding heals sin through what we call scientific prayer. This prayer is gaining that spiritual sense of which David spoke when he said, “He restoreth my soul” (Ps. 23:3). Prayer does restore our spiritual sense — the awareness of spiritual reality.
Actually, prayer is putting into action these two points I stressed earlier. First, the denial of the sin by recognizing it as a lie, an illusion, a dream, no part of man; and second, the affirmation and realization of the spiritual facts of Soul’s universe and Soul’s man.
Prayer is becoming so attuned to what spiritual sense reveals as true, and so unimpressed by what the physical senses propose, that we’re left with only spiritual reality in consciousness — seeing and knowing what Soul sees and knows. When this realization comes, the error disappears just as darkness goes before the light; and the change that appears in our lives is healing.
Why is this called scientific prayer? Because it’s based on spiritual sense, the consciousness that perceives the underlying facts of being. We glimpse absolute Truth. Jesus knew what he was talking about when he said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Soul and Soul’s universe of goodness is Truth. Sin is believing the material misconception of things, a lie.
The effect of scientific prayer is brought out in a significant statement of Mrs. Eddy’s regarding the healing of sin. “Is There Any Such Thing As Sin? Frequently when I touch this subject my meaning is ignorantly or maliciously misconstrued. Christian Science Mind-healing lifts with a steady arm, and cleaves sin with a broad battle-axe. It gives the lie to sin, in the spirit of Truth; but other theories make sin true.” Then she goes on to say, “Jesus declared that the devil was ‘a liar, and the father of it.’ A lie is negation, — alias nothing, or the opposite of something. Good is great and real. Hence its opposite, named evil, must be small and unreal. When this sense is attained, we shall no longer be the servants of sin, and shall cease to love it” (“No and Yes,” p.32).
What is so comforting about scientific prayer is that anyone can pray this way — even for extreme sin. Let me tell you of such a case.
A discovery in prison
A 14-year-old girl had no one to look after her or to teach her right from wrong. She had reached out for some kind of affection and had become pregnant. Later she married, but after some years, her husband abandoned her. By this time she had five children, and they were all left without means of support. Before long she drifted into gambling. Finally she started to peddle drugs, was arrested, convicted, and sent to prison for a five-year term.
It was in prison that she attended Christian Science services. A Christian Science institutional worker began to help her. Gradually her spiritual sense was awakened and she glimpsed a new and wonderful world different from anything she’d ever known before. And something of her own pure spiritual selfhood.
After three years she was paroled, and returned to her former ghetto area. She ran into staggering problems — for example, three of her children had become drug addicts. Also she ran into racial bias, crime, violence. But she was determined not to sin either by acknowledging the degradation so evident to the material senses or by committing any of the immoral acts of the past. She was determined to hold to what spiritual sense revealed of Soul’s universe and Soul’s man — a divine world of beauty and equality and love.
She succeeded! She healed her children of the addiction to drugs. She became an active church worker. Today she’s a very admired example of love, morality, and spiritual thinking. She and her new husband, also a church member, have two respectable and profitable businesses. She found the new heaven and new earth right where evil and sin seemed to be governing every facet of her life. She knew her greatest need and had claimed it.
How wonderful to realize that no matter what evils surround one’s life, whether dishonesty, or degradation or illness, right there Soul’s conditions are the only true conditions, and are supreme. Man’s identity is never less than spiritual. Man lives in the atmosphere of Spirit, is supplied and satisfied by divine Love, is governed by divine law. He knows only spiritual being, beauty, purity, and goodness. Any material evidence to the contrary is a lie, and to believe the material evidence is sin. Like this woman, each one of us in our own way is being called upon to claim the allness of God, good, and live it!
Early in our discussion I raised the question as to whether there are any criteria for determining what’s right or wrong. Christian Science puts right and wrong squarely on a metaphysical basis — that any thought or action based on God and Godlike qualities is good and right, and that whatever includes a single ungodlike or evil element is sinful, wrong. Therefore to evaluate any thought or action, the motive underlying it needs to be examined — whether it comes from God, or from the one liar which suggests evil as true.
Basis for healing
Is our motive one of selfishness, or selflessness? Falsifying, or expressing integrity? Downgrading another, or seeing his identity as spiritual? In truth God or good is the only real motivation, because that’s the only power that’s really present or acting. Each of us as individual spiritual man is Soul’s representative; is under divine law, and expresses every divine quality in every way, under every condition and circumstance.
Man is always selfless and loves divinely, expresses assurance and integrity, is ever fearless and untemptable, radiates purity and completeness, never animality or degradation. The thrilling part is that when these truths are insisted upon, really accepted and lived, healing takes place. The evidence changes. Our human life is uplifted; our world improves.
The question arises whether there are penalties for sin and immorality, and rewards for uprightness. Yes, there are penalties and rewards, but not in any generally accepted or fearful sense. Penalties and rewards come only in a spiritually scientific way. If a child in school bases his reasoning on 2 + 2 = 4 there certainly is a reward — right answers! But if he believes 2 + 2 = 3 he makes mistakes, and finds no solutions, only penalties.
In a far deeper sense there’s a tremendous reward for thinking from a spiritual basis. We’ve tapped into Truth’s divine law, and our conclusions and our actions will be spiritual and moral. They will have divine law — rightness, and power, and healing — behind them. On the other hand, if our thinking and actions are based on the error that man is physical, sometimes evil, always limited, then what we think or do will be without law or power. And trouble will be the inevitable outcome.
Great compassion is needed for our brothers and sisters who haven’t yet claimed this heavenly inheritance. How many of the sinful deeds in the world are the result of an individual with real needs turning to matter instead of to God to find the answer — like the bank teller I mentioned, turning to dishonesty, or the 14-year-old girl turning to sensuality, or someone with an unhappy marriage who looks elsewhere for comfort.
Answer to every need
How wonderful to know that because man dwells in Soul right now, the spiritual and moral answer to every human need is already present. Suppose there’s immorality in our lives, degrading appetites, a pull to do things that are wrong? Our solution lies in learning more about God, and then thinking out consistently from what God is, and who we really are. God’s man can’t be kicked around by false suggestions, hypnotized to look for good in that which is totally evil. God’s man expresses only perfection as the beloved child of God.
Of course, it’s not enough to clean up our own lives, and ignore the mess our brothers are in. The spiritual facts we claim for ourselves are equally true of everyone else. To believe otherwise of a single one of God’s ideas is sin. The demand is always to elevate our own thinking about ourselves and others and see what’s spiritually true.
I started off today by identifying a few headlines that raise the question whether the world is going through a moral decay. Mrs. Eddy explains what’s happening. She calls it moral chemicalization, much like when an acid is poured into an alkali, and a bubbling, foaming upheaval takes place. The truths of spiritual scientific prayer pouring into human consciousness are causing the churning, and forcing hidden evil thinking into the open. We don’t have to accept these exaggerated forms of evil as being anything other than what they are — a healthy sign that evil is being forced out of hiding and is ready for destruction. In further describing such moral chemicalization, Mrs. Eddy says: “In Isaiah we read: ‘I make peace, and create evil. I the Lord do all these things;’ but the prophet referred to divine law as stirring up the belief in evil to its utmost, when bringing it to the surface and reducing it to its common denominator, nothingness. The muddy river-bed must be stirred in order to purify the stream” (Science and Health, p. 540).
Of course, none of us masters evil in a moment. But when we realize that God is Soul, the only power and presence, and that man dwells only in Soul’s environment of perfect harmony, then we’re able to turn the lie on evil and sin of every sort, and eliminate them from our lives. We no longer find ourselves open to temptation or discouragement; no longer think of ourselves as mortals struggling against a powerful enemy and hopeless odds. And we don’t believe our civilization is doomed. Our need is to grow consistently in our realization of Soul, and insist upon its conditions.
Any concept of life which is ungodlike includes evil or sin and conflicts with the truth of being. Such a material concept must be replaced with the Soul qualities of joy, happiness, health, fulfillment, satisfaction and beauty. They appear in our experience to the degree we become spiritually aware of them as omnipresent, and irreversible, as part of God and man in His image. The more we grow in our understanding of Soul and Soul’s wonderful universe, the more alive these ideals become, and the more our human environment changes to accord with what’s spiritually true. The demand on us is simply to be what God has created us to be.
Spiritual reality dawning
In truth only good is taking place. And we are seeing its appearing on the human scene. Discrimination against race, sex and age is lessening. Efforts are under way for more moral treatment of prison inmates. Injustice in backward countries is fading. The universal brotherhood of man is emerging. And all these signs are but the dawning in human consciousness of the spiritual reality — Soul’s universe, in which God’s man lives now and forever.
Each one of us has a big part to play in bringing about the final destruction of all evil through spiritually scientific means. And where do we start? With ourselves! And see that the vastness of our new heaven and earth includes everyone, everywhere. Mrs. Eddy stirs us to action where she says: “Beloved children, the world has need of you, — and more as children than as men and women: it needs your innocence, unselfishness, faithful affection, uncontaminated lives. You need also to watch, and pray that you preserve these virtues unstained, and lose them not through contact with the world. What grander ambition is there than to maintain in yourselves what Jesus loved, and to know that your example, more than words, makes morals for mankind!” (“Miscellaneous Writings,” p. 110).
Our new heaven and earth is here. The demand is to live in it. This is our greatest need.
[Delivered Feb. 22, 1976, at The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, and published in The Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 23, 1976.]
it’s wet today but the flowers are very beautiful. water cleansing the ground. Spirit cleansing the mind. Every minute.
A strain upon a lyre harp
Sweeps a sound so low
That only those who gather round
Can catch its sweetness flow,
A strain which speaks of suffering
A woman’s heart is torn
As she watches martyrdom
For her son she mourns
A strain of sadness at the tomb
She searches for her dead
An angel pointing to the skies
Which dawns a crimson red
A strain upon twelve tender hearts
Who sit in upper rooms
And still the strain plays out its tune
From sadness of the tomb
A strain upon a sepulchre
A white robed body lay
The saviour rises, then appears
The rock is rolled away
A strain it sweeps his Mother’s heart
With gladness, faith and joy
And plays its tune eternally
For all who will enjoy
The strain is never ending
Through time and space it plays
The bloodied fingers of our saints
Keep it playing today.