September 11, 2003
Man is deathless, spiritual.
For this second anniversary of what's come to be called simply "9/11"we wanted to get as close as we could to grasping the Life that's God. A tall order perhaps because of the drumbeat of sadness and anger. (Notes from meetings of [#topicd=20010913#] and [#topicd=20020912#] may be of interest).
One member noted how much pop psychology is making the rounds. We need "closure", it's time to "move on". But we must not engage in "denial". One minister was on TV saying, "My faith has left me."Could Christian Science offer any help?
The readings set out the proposition that it is mortality itself — the birth to death dream — that needs to be seen through. The word "sin"in Romans we took to mean engaging life as a material event.
Members who've been with people as they died remarked on how ordinary it was, how much of a non-event. One reported that people seem to die the way they lived. Stoics go with stoicism. Those who are gung-ho spiritual cross over with prayers and praise.
A couple of members pursued the notion that we do not die without our consent. They were quoting a 95-year-old Christian Science practitioner — so naturally we listened. One member who didn't agree, did allow that the conscious attitude is hardly what governs in death — it's deep hidden drives, often quite unknown.
Another saw death as an attempt at growth, an accommodation by the mortal ego to the one Ego's (God's) push towards newer, broader concepts of Life. "If we could joyously leave cramped views of ourselves and others, we could allow new levels of harmony to come forth in the here and now — without the need for crude birth/death symbolism."(This is a paraphrase of a quote from page 323 of Science and Health in the readings.)
Life extension through right thinking we found a tinny concept. Christian Science proclaims Life as the extension or flowing out from God. As Mary Baker Eddy's poem about Christmas says: "Thou gentle beam of living Love, And deathless Life! Truth infinite, — so far above All mortal strife"(Christian Science Hymnal, pg. 23:4).
By accessing and consciously reflecting God as a "gentle beam of living Love and deathless Life"we see the belief of ourselves shift and die daily, to reveal more true being.
One member commented on Mrs. Eddy's personal statement from Unity of Good (see readings) that she "cannot speak of myself as 'sufficient for these things.'"Our member said, "She's warning us not to use her experience as justification for dying. Remember Mrs. Eddy also said, 'Follow me only as far as I follow Christ.'"
Man in Truth, as infinite idea, is incapable of birth-death. We can live this reality even as its mortal masquerades cavort and fret their way to extinction.
We had two testimonies.
1) One member said that when her son was born she was careful from the start not to see him or herself as going through any material process. Each was fully sourced in God. "Each day it was like having a different son,"(and we supposed for him, a different mother).
Several years later, as she — by now a Christian Science practitioner — was driving her car to see a patient who was in great need, she reached out to God for some inspiration. Her son, whom she would soon drop off at a friend's house, suddenly called attention to the stars. "You know, Mom, those stars don't really blink. Their light is steady. It's the earth's atmosphere that makes them look like they're twinkling."She saw instantly the ongoing reality of God's man, undimmed by mortal beliefs. That brought healing to the case.
2) Another member had what he termed a "thrilling experience"on the subway en route to our meeting. His train stopped suddenly: he lost his footing and hurtled through the air, catching himself on a pole and twirling around it a time or two before landing on the floor. As would any student of Christian Science he prayed in flight and was unhurt. Other riders were concerned and recommended medical care, but he laughed the whole thing off as a kind of floor show: "You didn't know you'd get this performance at no cost."
Near the end of the meeting, the group worked on the statements on pages 75 and 76 of Science and Health in the readings. One member judged some of the statements "relative"and others "absolute". Another member pointed out that Mrs. Eddy never used those terms in relation to statements of Science. "For her, all statements and experiences was both depending on one's point of view."This member went on to mention a number of terms that have crept into the practice of Science but have no basis in the Textbook and may short-circuit our understanding. These include "change our thoughts", "change our thinking", "lift our thoughts", and "improve our thoughts".
In the coming months, the LGBT Center and Union Theological Seminary will co-host panel discussions covering LGBT people and religion. The first of these discussions, entitled "Out and Faithful", will occur next week, starting an hour before our own meeting. Some of us will attend at least for an hour. We chose the topic Faith for next week.
For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Willingness to become as a little child and to leave the old for the new, renders thought receptive of the advanced idea. Gladness to leave the false landmarks and joy to see them disappear,—this disposition helps to precipitate the ultimate harmony.
The material body and mind are temporal, but the real man is spiritual and eternal. The identity of the real man is not lost, but found through this explanation; for the conscious infinitude of existence and of all identity is thereby discerned and remains unchanged. It is impossible that man should lose aught that is real, when God is all and eternally his. The notion that mind is in matter, and that the so-called pleasures and pains, the birth, sin, sickness, and death of matter, are real, is a mortal belief; and this belief is all that will ever be lost.
Continuing our definition of man, let us remember that harmonious and immortal man has existed forever, and is always beyond and above the mortal illusion of any life, substance, and intelligence as existent in matter. This statement is based on fact, not fable. The Science of being reveals man as perfect, even as the Father is perfect, because the Soul, or Mind, of the spiritual man is God, the divine Principle of all being, and because this real man is governed by Soul instead of sense, by the law of Spirit, not by the so-called laws of matter.
There is one possible moment, when those living on the earth and those called dead, can commune together, and that is the moment previous to the transition, —the moment when the link between their opposite beliefs is being sundered. In the vestibule through which we pass from one dream to another dream, or when we awake from earth's sleep to the grand verities of Life, the departing may hear the glad welcome of those who have gone before. The ones departing may whisper this vision, name the face that smiles on them and the hand which beckons them, as one at Niagara, with eyes open only to that wonder, forgets all else and breathes aloud his rapture.
When being is understood, Life will be recognized as neither material nor finite, but as infinite,—as God, universal good; and the belief that life, or mind, was ever in a finite form, or good in evil, will be destroyed.
If a material body—in other words, mortal, material sense—were permeated by Spirit, that body would disappear to mortal sense, would be deathless.
It is scientific to abide in conscious harmony, in health-giving, deathless Truth and Love. To do this, mortals must first open their eyes to all the illusive forms, methods, and subtlety of error, in order that the illusion, error, may be destroyed; if this is not done, mortals will become the victims of error.