One summer evening I saw a massive red ball, like fire, reflected in the mirror of my car. It appeared to be sinking slowly and majestically below the horizon. I knew that this setting sun was not moving, but rather that the earth was turning away from it. The movement of the earth, not the sun, produces that effect.
The world is full of such illusions. A mountain covered by a thick mist may seem to have disappeared. A train at rest can seem to its passengers to be moving when another moves past. Skillful art can make a picture on a flat surface appear three-dimensional. These are a few of the tricks with which the five physical senses can delude those not alert to their unreliability.
Only when we turn to the truth of God are we able to distinguish between fact and illusion. One realizes the insubstantial nature of anything transitory and imperfect as he or she recognizes that God created all that is true. Qualities such as beauty, wisdom, order, love, tenderness, joy, are of God, and by expressing these qualities we can express God's nature.
Christian Science, revealing God and the way we relate to Him, shows that God created us like Himself-spiritual, never material. Our human lives become more happy and blessed when we consciously keep in thought the spiritual facts of God. We can bring this consciousness of God into all our activities. This is prayer. Knowing that we are never separated from our Maker, we inevitably separate spiritual truth from error. This is a secure foundation on which to live our lives.
The book of Exodus in the Bible presents Moses, a great leader of the Hebrew people, as a prime example of one who discerned between fact and fiction. He had to learn to do this before he was ready for the task God had given him, that of leading the Israelites out of the bondage imposed on them by the Pharaoh of Egypt. These people had resigned themselves to slavery, and stolidity on their part made Moses' task all the more challenging. At one point after they had fled Egypt and were in the wilderness, they felt that the old bondage would have been better than facing hunger. In contrast, Moses expressed the qualities of patience, compassion, and constancy. He had learned to trust the great i am, who gave him special signs showing him that divine power holds sway over every material obstacle.
The woman who discovered Christian Science in 1866, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote of one of those significant times when, before the Exodus, Moses confronted a fearful situation in the desert: "The Hebrew Lawgiver, slow of speech, despaired of making the people understand what should be revealed to him. When, led by wisdom to cast down his rod, he saw it become a serpent, Moses fled before it; but wisdom bade him come back and handle the serpent, and then Moses' fear departed. . . . The illusion of Moses lost its power to alarm him, when he discovered that what he apparently saw was really but a phase of mortal belief." This is from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (p. 321).
Having learned not to fear illusions or doubt that God is a God of love, Moses was ready to embark on that great task of leading his people to the Promised Land. His grasp-his understanding-of spiritual facts grew stronger as he advanced. This strengthening prepared him to receive from God the Ten Commandments, the law undergirding Judeo-Christian demands and behavior. Later, Christ Jesus led people to an even clearer understanding of God as Truth itself.
Like Moses and Jesus, we too can develop the ability to separate fact from fiction. We can express spiritual qualities. No law says that we must be slaves to anything evil or fearful, be it illness or poverty. God's law establishes our freedom. Knowing that we are created in the image and likeness of one beneficent Father-Mother God, we can never be without spiritual understanding, with which to vanquish all that opposes us. Our health, relationships, homes-our entire well-being-are meant to express His goodness. This fact promotes a happier, calmer, safer, and more just world for all.