WHAT use can a book be that was written before the modern age--even before the printing press was invented? A lot of use, I've found. The Bible addresses fundamental truths--in particular, it tells us of mankind's gradually unfolding understanding of the nature of God's care and protection for all.
This understanding is just as important to us today as it was in Bible times. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, points out in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "Christ's Christianity is the chain of scientific being reappearing in all ages, maintaining its obvious correspondence with the Scriptures and uniting all periods in the design of God.
Recently I had an experience that reminded me just how important the Bible and what it teaches are to us in our daily lives. I had been studying the Bible, as I frequently do. That particular day I had been looking carefully at the Beatitudes in Christ Jesus' Sermon on the Mount in chapter 5 of Matthew's Gospel. I had particularly lingered over the first threeBlessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek : for they shall inherit the earth--because they seemed to me to relate to the humble, receptive state of mind that lays the groundwork for increasing commitment to spiritual truth. I was reminded of a passage in Science and Health where Mrs. Eddy says, "What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds. I took the ideas I'd found through this study as an assignment to make a greater effort to be humble and kind, to do all I could to
express "patience, meekness, love, and good deeds in my daily affairs.
Later that day I was driving on a busy street in a hilly part of town. I saw a battered truck backing into the street ahead of me. I slowed down. Instead of becoming impatient, however, I consciously felt how my study of the Beatitudes had prepared me to be patient and charitable toward the driver, who apparently did not know how to exit the awkward hillside parking lot safely.
The truck continued to back until it was entering a second lane of traffic. I sounded my horn to warn the driver to be careful as he did this maneuver. This alerted the driver on my left, who was able to stop promptly and avoid the truck, which came to rest blocking half of the road. As cars began to move cautiously around the truck, I was surprised to see the driver emerge from a doughnut shop at the top of the hill! The truck had rolled down the hill unattended! When he saw the situation, the driver we nt to the truck, got in, and moved it out of the way.
As I drove off, my initial reaction was simply to dismiss the incident because, after all, nothing had happened. Then I realized that I had in fact had one of the most beautiful demonstrations of how actually living what the Bible teaches protects us in our everyday lives. There had been no screeching of brakes, no near misses, and no exclamations of fear--or even of impatience. The prayerful study of the Bible I had been doing had resulted in my dwelling on qualities that we reflect as God's offspring. My willingness actively to express these qualities protected me, gently yet strongly. And the same qualities also helped safeguard those around me, providing a glimpse, however simple, of the harmony we can all experience from the lessons--the blessings--of daily Bible study.