September 20, 2001
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
In our second meeting after the terrorist attack, most members seemed to have reached grief in the process of recovery. Unexpectedly, this produced an atmosphere for the emergence of some very healing — even absolute — visions of reality.
"Apocalypse" comes from Greek words meaning to uncover. We saw the events of September 11th and their aftermath as uncovering not only the worst passions of mortal mind, but also deeper, more powerful assurances of harmony and perfection. Both the evil and its countermanding Good were not consciously available until now.
Many people in New York still seem to be in a daze, without what psychologists call "affect" or animation. This could mean that inner work is going on. Could this work be seen as God's, thus supporting a transformation of consciousness in the process. "My father worketh hitherto, and I work." (John 5: 17)
Two phrases now making the rounds came up for discussion and evaluation in Science.
1) "The new face of war" is the only war there ever was in Truth: the conflict between impersonal error or dualism and Good. Good is overwhelmingly the victor.
2) "The new patriotism" is, again, the reflection of the one Father-Mother of all — our common Principle or being.
Members described some experiences during the week.
1) One picked up his copy of the Koran and read extensively, finding many statements of God's love and promotion of peace. He also found horrendous exhortations to violence and mayhem, just as are found in our Bible. All sacred literature is written by and interpreted by men. Only a breakthrough to something akin to Christian Science can validly be used in handling such material.
2) Another member was out of the city when the tragedy struck and was swamped by emotion when he returned. He had "some catching up to do". The many home made shrines around the city helped — he even contributed a poem at one site. One morning as he wandered through the streets of Chelsea, weeping openly, a perfect stranger grabbed and held him until he was again able to cope.
3) Another member held himself together for several days, then suddenly started shaking uncontrollably as he was out shopping. He quickly got a cab and found a most sympathetic driver who said he had suffered the same reaction to the events.
4) Another member felt manic and fearful for the first few days. He was able to emit some really chirpy statements of Christian Science. But he was unable to sleep. The mesmerism began to crack as he walked by a firehouse bearing a sign listing the six firefighters lost by that company in the collapse. He was finally able to feel grief and has since been able to relate to people of all sorts just where they — and frankly we all — are at.
Here are some metaphysical points that came up.
1) What we call "America" is the highest human concept of the divine idea, oneness. It is inevitable on the human belief level that the most diverse city in the most diverse country in the world would experience the opening shots of the war between Good and evil.
2) Resting on trust in sentiments like, "basic human decency," or, "They wouldn't do that!" or protections like sky marshals and so on won't cut it. We need now the full-fledged practice of Science, or the all-presence of God for ourselves and others. Symbolic palliatives can then safely appear and will seem helpful as long as we know where the real power lies.
3) Terrorism is prayer, in an extreme, perhaps psychotic form. But then so is revenge. To assess these unspiritual actions in what is normally religious language is to uncover the desire embedded therein. Desire is itself no more than dualistic human language for divine fulfillment. The student of Christian Science can take the human concept thus presented and find the non-dualistic bliss being sought. Everyone wants, and in reality has, eternal Life and infinite Love; it is our sacred duty and privilege to perform the midwifery. "The rich in spirit help the poor in one grand brotherhood, all having the same Principle, or Father;" (Science and Health, p. 518: 15-17).
4) If we get beyond the beliefs, rituals and symbols of particular religions — even the most fanatical — the foundation is the oneness of God and man. Let us work through the seeming differences as they surface and reside in the oneness.
5) Last year Prime Minister Barak of Israel presented at Camp David the notion of a "final settlement" for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It failed terribly and unleashed much violence. One member feels this ushered in a process of chemicalization which has now reached a stage where we may contemplate "a really final settlement", worldwide in scope, uniting all interests under the one divinity. The New Jerusalem depicted in our readings. Members sought and found scraps of evidence that such a grand settlement could be at hand, viz.
a. The recent Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire.For next week we'll work on Safety, a concern of group members and many others. The one recommending this topic told of his experience in World War II, crossing the Atlantic, every moment charged with the possibility of U-boat attack, and then being faced with strafing and bombardment in Europe — all the time practicing Christian Science. A few readings were recommended by others, covering not only preservation but also the uniqueness of man. All are from Science and Health: pp. 581: 8-14, 369: 23-29, and 265: 10-15.
b. The debunking of religious fanaticism, including that of Falwell and Robertson.
c. The bringing of Muslim Americans into the religious and cultural mainstream of this country.
d. Questioning among Americans whether our own arrogant blunders in dealing with other nations may have played a part in current tragedies.
e. The initial designation of the military and financial operations now unfolding as "Infinite Justice" — blasphemous to Muslims and quickly withdrawn — seized our fancy and gave us a treatment for what is emerging, even the operation of divine Principle.
We ended with one member singing beautifully Hymn 253, a setting of Mrs. Eddy's poem "Christ My Refuge".
O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones. And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.
And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
The "still, small voice" of scientific thought reaches over continent and ocean to the globe's remotest bound. The inaudible voice of Truth is, to the human mind, "as when a lion roareth." It is heard in the desert and in dark places of fear. It arouses the "seven thunders" of evil, and stirs their latent forces to utter the full diapason of secret tones. Then is the power of Truth demonstrated,—made manifest in the destruction of error.
Until the majesty of Truth should be demonstrated in divine Science, the spiritual idea was arraigned before the tribunal of so-called mortal mind, which was unloosed in order that the false claim of mind in matter might uncover its own crime of defying immortal Mind.
To infinite, ever-present Love, all is Love, and there is no error, no sin, sickness, nor death.
At all times and under all circumstances, overcome evil with good. Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil. Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you. The cement of a higher humanity will unite all interests in the one divinity.
The Revelator was on our plane of existence, while yet beholding what the eye cannot see,—that which is invisible to the uninspired thought. This testimony of Holy Writ sustains the fact in Science, that 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.
In the desolation of human understanding, divine Love hears and answers the human call for help; and the voice of Truth utters the divine verities of being which deliver mortals out of the depths of ignorance and vice.
The spirit of the prayer of the righteous heals the sick, but this spirit is of God, and the divine Mind is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever; whereas the human mind is a compound of faith and doubt, of fear and hope, of faith in truth and faith in error. The knowledge that all things are possible to God excludes doubt, but differing human concepts as to the divine power and purpose of infinite Mind, and the so-called power of matter, act as the different properties of drugs are supposed to act—one against the other—and this compound of mind and matter neutralizes itself.