I HAVE this special friend whom I met fifteen years ago when he came to our home for lodging shortly after his release from prison. The circumstances surrounding his release illustrate that in our loving Father-Mother God we have a Redeemer who truly lives. My friend fell into imprisonment as an early teen; drug use and addiction accompanied his years in jail. Just before prison officials placed him in solitary confinement (for growing marijuana in the prison garden!), someone slipped my friend a copy of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. My friend began studying this book along with the Bible. His heart was hungry for the truths he found there. As he studied, the selfdefeating actions and addictions disappeared, one by one. He was no longer kept in solitary confinement. He stopped smoking. He ceased taking drugs. He quit selling drugs. Instead, he turned his energy to sharing the healing truth he had discovered with some of the very people he had sold drugs to previously.
Soon this man earned parole. Since then he has married, applied himself wholeheartedly to rearing his four children, served his church in several offices, and become skilled in the computer field. People who listen to my friend's story feel the joy of a life reclaimed by the Redeemer. Mrs. Eddy, speaking of a time in her own life when she saw no hope in materiality, says: ``Thus it was when the moment arrived of the heart's bridal to more spiritual existence. When the door opened, I was waiting and watching; and, lo, the bridegroom came!... My heart knew its Redeemer.... Being was beautiful, its substance, cause, and currents were God and His idea.''1
Through his healing works, Christ Jesus illustrated for us all the mighty saving power of our God, the One who, in the language of the Psalmist, ``forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies.''2
Redemption reveals the goodness and worth that have always characterized our true selfhood. In Christian Science, man is understood to be the perfect creation of a perfect God. Since God is eternal Spirit, His creation is eternal and spiritual. It is sinless and indestructible, and we're able to prove this truth through specific instances of healing, such as the one just related.
The fact that our genuine identity is perfect in God's image means that man is not a sinner. He does not lurch back and forth between good and evil. Man is always what God made him to be--His pure, perfect offspring.
Through prayer we can begin to discern and wholeheartedly accept the truth of God and man, much as my friend did. This helps us experience the redeeming action of God's love. Like a cleanser, it forces impurities of thought and action to the surface where they can be identified and cast aside.
Redemption like this can hardly be contained! It spreads to all areas of our living. Notice that the Psalmist specifies our moral development (``all thine iniquities''), our health (``all thy diseases''), and the very status of our lives (``redeemeth thy life from destruction'').
Added together, this redemption work can crown you and me ``with lovingkindness and tender mercies.'' Our lives can blossom beyond what anyone might have thought. The restoration can be complete. Mrs. Eddy says, ``Sooner or later the whole human race will learn that, in proportion as the spotless selfhood of God is understood, human nature will be renovated, and man will receive a higher selfhood, derived from God, and the redemption of mortals from sin, sickness, and death be established on everlasting foundations.''3
We take up our part in our redemption as we turn to this ``spotless selfhood of God'' and allow it to govern our thought more completely. Our Redeemer, then, is not some distant power that will rescue us suddenly one day. Divine Love is at work for us now.
1Retrospection and Introspection, p. 23. 2Psalms 103:3, 4. 3Unity of Good, p. 6. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer. Psalms 19:14