THAT'S what a friend urged my mother to do when Mom told her of a difficult relationship. The importance of oil is obvious to anyone who has oiled a squeak or outmaneuvered rust. With a little imagination, we can picture squeaking, rusting, sticking relationship troubles resolved with the oil of caring. This was the ``oil'' that my mother's friend was referring to and which she pointed out in the Glossary of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.1 Here Mrs. Eddy gives the spiritual sense of Biblical terms. Oil is defined as ``consecration; charity; gentleness; prayer; heavenly inspiration.''2
Day-after-day relationships need such oil. I'm thinking of some of the rough spots that show up in close quarters: lack of commitment and purpose, lack of love and tender caring, a self-centered focus that excludes God and our fellow beings, indifference, obliviousness, depression.
How can the oil of Spirit help us over the rough spots? Consecration strengthens the faltering and uncommitted. Charity smoothes the dryness of irritability and resentment. Gentleness quiets erratic thought. Prayer establishes harmony in place of misunderstanding and confusion. And it calls forth a fuller expression of the qualities that heal. Heavenly inspiration shatters depression, dullness, and emptiness.
My mother's friend urged her not just to use the oil, but to be the oil. Both women were Christian Scientists and understood that to be good is not so much a personal undertaking as it is a willingness to be hospitable to the presence of Christ, Truth, the power of God that brings healing to our present need, and redemption. It is a willingness to realize more consistently in prayer our inseparability from the one God, from divine Life and Love.
Consecration, charity, gentleness, prayer, and heavenly inspiration are not merely helpful human responses; they are God-impelled expressions of Christly power. When we are gentle, prayerful, and loving, we are not just being the ``good guy''; we are reflecting God, divine Love, as the sole power and harmonizing Principle of the universe.
In a situation of friction, when I've yielded and expressed something of divine Love, I have found that such yielding doesn't get me stomped on because I am not really giving in to a person. My stepping back mentally is to let the harmonizing power of God and His Christ step forward--in the words of a Biblical prophet, ``To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.''3 Christliness is the oil of joy that makes whole. It is an outpouring of pure power. To be the oil unfolds the Christly mission of each of us. It dissolves anger and fear, just as raising the shade to the early sun dashes the darkness. Many times a situation is saved through the quiet realization that the expression of the divine nature is natural to all of God's children and that all are inseparable from God.
One well-oiled situation comes to thought as I write. I was the new member on the art museum board. There were difficult problems, and I seldom missed an opportunity to make passionate speeches that probably entertained more than they enlightened. We were going nowhere. Nobody was doing anything.
It was most certainly the Christ that finally woke me to realize that I was behaving badly, adding to a sense of division and uncertainty. A quiet thought formed as I listened to God. I knew that I should be participating in our board meetings as a Christian Scientist--with the same consecration, prayer, gentleness, love, and inspiration that were familiar to me from church meetings.
From then on I worked to ``be oil'' and not a squeaking wheel! I tried to be gentle and loving instead of sharp-witted. I shut my mouth and silently prayed for the entire undertaking, for inspiration and unity of thought and purpose. I gave up the presumption that if I didn't do something, nothing would be done. I yielded my thought to the power of God, of Spirit, and let God work. We began to find solutions, and some fairly revolutionary events followed. We did get ``beauty for ashes'' and ``the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.''
When we are being ``the oil of joy,'' we find ourselves on the side of divine power. Then there's no telling what good things will occur.
1The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 2Science and Health, p. 592. 3Isaiah 61:3. You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Thou anointest my head with oil. Psalms 23:5