'Clean hands, and a pure heart'

On a recent visit to an aquarium, I was particularly interested in an exhibit of two large fish tanks designed to illustrate the effects of pollution on marine life. The first tank represented conditions in a city harbor in the 18th century: the water was clear and clean; plant life was healthy; fish of diverse species, colors, and sizes darted about.

The second tank represented conditions in that same harbor today: the water was murky and rust-colored; the sea floor was covered with rotting sediment, wildly overgrown vegetation, broken bottles, and other debris. Only a few fish managed to survive in this dismal setting.

As exemplified in nature, purity is the natural, essential condition of life. An unspoiled environment supports health and vitality, but contaminated surroundings have a stifling effect.

What about the environment of our thought? Is our consciousness a pure atmosphere of spirituality, sparkling with productive, wholesome activity? Or is it perhaps clogged with the suffocating influence of materiality and in need of a thorough purging?

When our thoughts are centered on God, Spirit, our lives reflect this in moral integrity as well as physical well-being. Heavenly-mindedness doesn't put us out of touch with life; it releases us from the limitations inherent in a mortal sense of being and enables us to demonstrate the infinite possibilities of man as the expression of divine Life, God.

The generally accepted belief that something other than God, namely matter, is the source and sustainer of existence, is the basic contaminant of human thought; and it is objectified as disease, sin, death. St. Paul stated plainly the relationship of thought to life when he wrote, ''To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.'' n1

n1 Romans 8:6.

The religious rulers of Jesus' day were concerned about purity; but they defined it as ceremonial cleanness and measured it in terms of obedience to the letter of the law. Jesus emphasized the greater need for compliance with the spirit of the law - in thought as well as deed. ''Jesus declared that to look with desire on forbidden objects was to break a moral precept,'' writes Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. She continues, ''He laid great stress on the action of the human mind, unseen to the senses.'' n2

n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 234.

The pure in heart, the Master taught, are blessed, for they see God. To put it another way, spirituality is an untainted lens through which we can realize the sustaining ever-presence of divine Love. In proportion as human consciousness is cleansed of evil beliefs, we become more cognizant of God, our true Life, and thus actually experience better health and greater all-around harmony.

''Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?'' asks the Psalmist. ''He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.'' n3

n3 Psalms 24:3, 4.

Daily we're presented with images of sensuality and multitudinous worldly theories about how to find happiness and health in the body. Are we absorbing these images and viewpoints into consciousness? Mrs. Eddy offers some helpful counsel on the subject: ''Science shows that material, conflicting mortal opinions and beliefs emit the effects of error at all times, but this atmosphere of mortal mind cannot be destructive to morals and health when it is opposed promptly and persistently by Christian Science. Truth and Love antidote this mental miasma, and thus invigorate and sustain existence.'' n4

n4 Science and Health, pp. 273-274.

Like the crystal-clear waters of a healthy lake, spirituality is a sweet, beneficial environment of beauty and balance, harmony and order. Such a mental atmosphere is not only a life-preserving power to him who expresses it, but is also a blessing to those around him, and to all mankind. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Little children, keep yourselves from idols. I John 5:21

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