October 3, 2002
I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me:
Who on earth welcomes adversity? To hear our readings you'd think Christian Scientists do. And if we don't, perhaps we should. For, properly seen and worked through with the tools Christian Science provides, adversity is the royal road to enlightenment and growth. It's divine Love saying, "Wake up dear child and understand your at-one-ment with Me."
We all have free will to believe whatever we wish and base our lives on that, but members saw that unless our beliefs reflect divine reality we'll experience hardships and calamities until we get into proper alignment with Truth.
One tendency we noted in ourselves and others is to make a career out of some problem rather than seeing what false beliefs are causing it, addressing these and healing the problem.
Discovering repressed beliefs and bringing them to the surface for healing can be a harrowing process — e.g., psychotherapy — but one member reminded us that since "error is a misstatement of truth," (see Science and Health, p. 126:2) we can go right to the healing Truth by reversing the error. For instance, faced with death or illness, do I understand that Life, or God-man, is eternal here and now? Faced with hatred or fear, do I get it that Love, or God-man, too is omnipresent right now?
A member told us of an experience a few days earlier at the post office. He had been frustrated in his attempt to open a new P.O. Box first by the absence of the proper clerk to handle the transaction and then later by a long, slow-moving line. He undertook the usual Christian Science work but to little avail. It then occurred to him to seek prayerfully what a post office represented spiritually. "Communication", was the answer to that and he remembered the statement by Mary Baker Eddy from Science and Health: "The only intercommunication is always from God to His idea, man." (p. 284:31) Suddenly his thought was overwhelmed by the impersonal truth that "everyone is satisfied." He was quickly served of course and out the door. It then came to him (something he never in his wildest dreams thought he would agree with), "Yes, Mary is the mother of God: mortal man's soul, letting go of human belief, and looking to God, thereby effectively mediates Christ, or God with us, to mankind." Those old orthodox sayings and beliefs are powerful because they hide within them some pretty remarkable visions.
The meeting then proceeded along with healings being reported as illustrations of aspects of our topic or Science in general.
One member reported a telephone conversation with another member who was unable to attend. The latter wanted the readings about angels incorporated into the flow. They worked along the lines of the body being the presence and power of God. Christian Science uses the divine synonym Soul for body. But isn't the body material, dualistic? Sure, if we see it from the Jehovah standpoint. Did Jesus take his body to heaven in the ascension? Yes. He understood its infinity, just as the quantum physicists are beginning to do today. Our bodies are infinite. Not just metaphysically but physically. Indeed as time moves on metaphysics and physics will merge.
This brought on a discussion of sex in terms of everyone already interpenetrating and being interpenetrated by everyone else. Yes, physically! What we call sex is perhaps a cramped view of what's really happening already but its symbolic form needn't be about pain and pleasure but can be seen as Truth sought and demonstrated.
One member amplified the sex discussion (but noted that his remarks could be applied to any phase of human existence) with an interpretation of some readings from the Book of Daniel he heard at the Wednesday testimony meeting of a local Christian Science Church. King Belshazzar lost his throne and his life when he used the golden vessels from the temple to drink wine recreationally. (See Daniel 1:1,2 and 5:1-5,25-28,30,31.) In what jeopardy are we placing ourselves by operating from a Cartesian basis? (Treating Spirit and matter as separate or "leaning on a broken reed" as Mrs. Eddy puts it on page 66 of Science and Health, see the Readings.)
Three members had experiences during the week illustrating the need to prepare carefully and sensitively for discussions involving Christian Science. Two of them engaged non-Scientists in discussions of religion and medicine and managed to alienate their interlocutors. They see the error of their ways and hope to do better next time.
The third member did get ready for his encounter with his church's membership on financial issues. He supposed he would run into a wall of antagonism and indifference but after his preparation found the membership deeply responsive and practical in their approach.
Nearing the end of the meeting we got into some brief comments on all the war talk now circulating. Members are praying about the situation. One said he had become aware this week of several Jungian workshops delving into the war archetype. Apparently war is a concept not necessarily traceable to disagreements, deprivations or testosterone alone. It's deeper. Certainly in Christian Science it all goes back to the basic fallacy of belief in matter. One member recalled a scene from Kenneth Branagh's Henry V where there is a feeling of elation on a battle field amidst the blood and gore — "Is this how regular guys have sex and mix body fluids?"
The topic for next week is The Power Of One. The thought behind it is that each of us has the opportunity and obligation to pray for the world and "One with God is a majority." Therefore our prayers are effective.
The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect.
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
Thou art right, immortal Shakespeare, great poet of humanity:
Sweet are the uses of adversity;
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head.
Trials teach mortals not to lean on a material staff,—a broken reed, which pierces the heart. We do not half remember this in the sunshine of joy and prosperity. Sorrow is salutary. Through great tribulation we enter the kingdom. Trials are proofs of God's care. Spiritual development germinates not from seed sown in the soil of material hopes, but when these decay, Love propagates anew the higher joys of Spirit, which have no taint of earth. Each successive stage of experience unfolds new views of divine goodness and love.
Angels are God's representatives. These upward-soaring beings never lead towards self, sin, or materiality, but guide to the divine Principle of all good, whither every real individuality, image, or likeness of God, gathers. By giving earnest heed to these spiritual guides they tarry with us, and we entertain "angels unawares."
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. In moral chemicalization, when the symptoms of evil, illusion, are aggravated, we may think in our ignorance that the Lord hath wrought an evil; but we ought to know that God's law uncovers so-called sin and its effects, only that Truth may annihilate all sense of evil and all power to sin.
When we learn the way in Christian Science and recognize man's spiritual being, we shall behold and understand God's creation, — all the glories of earth and heaven and man.
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. This must be the climax before harmonious and immortal man is obtained and his capabilities revealed.
Whatever purifies, sanctifies, and consecrates human life, is not an enemy, however much we suffer in the process. Shakespeare writes: "Sweet are the uses of adversity." Jesus said: "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake; . . . for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."
The Hebrew law with its "Thou shalt not," its demand and sentence, can only be fulfilled through the gospel's benediction. Then, "Blessed are ye," insomuch as the consciousness of good, grace, and peace, comes through affliction rightly understood, as sanctified by the purification it brings to the flesh,—to pride, self-ignorance, self-will, self-love, self-justification. Sweet, indeed, are these uses of His rod! Well is it that the Shepherd of Israel passes all His flock under His rod into His fold; thereby numbering them, and giving them refuge at last from the elements of earth.
"Love thine enemies" is identical with "Thou hast no enemies." Wherein is this conclusion relative to those who have hated thee without a cause? Simply, in that those unfortunate individuals are virtually thy best friends. Primarily and ultimately, they are doing thee good far beyond the present sense which thou canst enter-tain of good.
Like the verdure and evergreen that flourish when trampled upon, the Christian Scientist thrives in adversity; his is a life-lease of hope, home, heaven; his idea is nearing the Way, the Truth, and the Life, when misrepresented, belied, and trodden upon. Justice, honesty, cannot be abjured; their vitality involves Life,—calm, irresistible, eternal.