RECENTLY an interview in this newspaper described a well-known actor as a master of civility and dignity when portraying roles. His statement about the power of spirituality--of heaven--caught my attention. Anthony Hopkins says: ``I've been through some personal crises. . . . They make you flexible. You realize you're heading down the wrong road, through some kind of self-destructive motive or behavior, and you reach a dead end. . . . If you have any sense of reverence, you turn back from that, and I think in those moments you find some power within you that helps you'' (December 8, 1993).
I've felt this power of heaven in my life, too. It's not my own power, though. It's what I've come to see as the spiritual power within us that we have from our creator, God! This was Christ Jesus' message to mankind--that we have the heavenly help we need to solve problems. Jesus' own life and teachings tell us that God created man--us!--to be free of fear and brimful of spiritual power. No one is or can be separated from God. Each of us is spiritually created, spiritually endowed, and spiritually equipped.
Whatever challenges we're facing or wherever we are in our quest for a fuller, more godly life, we reflect the same divine power that enabled Jesus to master danger, hate, desolation, even death. The power that Jesus lived so supremely was the Christ--the God-given power that he expressed as the Son of God. Jesus repeatedly called God His Father and named himself God's Son. Jesus taught that everyone is God's spiritual offspring. Jesus' follower Paul, for example, points out in his letter to the Romans, ``We are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ'' (8:16, 17). Is it sacrilegious to claim our spiritual identity? Is it unthinkable to regard ourselves as ``joint-heirs with Christ''? Not if we earnestly resolve to acknowledge God as our only creator--the only cause. It's this very recognition of God as Father-Mother that shows us our own spiritual sonship and reveals the heaven within us--the God-given power that's immediately available to help us in any crisis.
Jesus showed us the importance of trusting God in every detail of our lives. He said, as John's Gospel records: ``I do nothing of myself. . . . He that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him'' (8:28, 29). When Jesus' teachings and example motivate us to be kind, honest, tolerant, helpful, and above all, intent on patterning our lives to be Christlike, our lives reflect the powerful heavenly harmony that's already within us.
As we strive to reckon reality in terms of God and His ideas, we experience the spiritually transforming effects of repentance and regeneration. We begin to comprehend more fully our oneness with God and to realize that we are never alone, never forsaken by our loving Father, God, who is always embracing us in His infinite love. One step at a time, we learn that harmony is the effect of our reverence for God. How consistently we bring our thoughts and actions into obedience to Him--and how genuinely we see others as His children--frees us from materialistic, self-destructive beliefs that would blind us to the heaven within.
Replying to the question ``Is heaven spiritual?'' in The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Christian Science Church, says: ``Heaven is spiritual. Heaven is harmony,--infinite, boundless bliss.'' And farther on, quoting Christ Jesus, she adds: ``Our great Teacher hath said: `Behold, the kingdom of God is within youwithin man's spiritual understanding of all the divine modes, means, forms, expression, and manifestation of goodness and happiness'' (p. 267). This heaven within has the power to change your life!