I have found that our pet birds have lessons to teach. Their chirps and whistlings show how natural it is to sing with joy. If I'm feeling anxious or depressed, these birds make me examine things. If I'm supposedly so much smarter than they are, why are these sweet creatures able to feel happy while I'm not? They remind me of the Bible verses "Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious" (Psalms 66:1, 2). A carefree sense of existence, glad trust in God, and exuberance are some of the qualities God's creation expresses.
God holds you and me in a state of harmony. No son or daughter of His could for a moment be neglected or forgotten, because there is never a time when God could become unaware of what He causes to exist. He is the all-knowing, unchanging Principle of the universe; He is divine Love. He sustains, invigorates, and protects us, and we manifest all the affection and care of this one good God. He is the guiding intelligence that orders and develops us.
I think these were some of the facts Jesus Christ was illustrating when he said: "Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them" (Matthew 6:25, 26). It seems that we sometimes get so anxious and fretful about our lives-bent on accomplishing certain goals, making so much money, searching for perfect security-that we become unable to recognize the peace, inspiration, warmth, and vitality that God is already giving. It is worth taking Jesus' advice to "behold the fowls of the air" and to learn what they have to teach us.
But what does it mean, in practical terms, to "take no thought for your life"? "Taking thought" is something we do almost incessantly-planning, anticipating, acting, reacting, defending, rehashing. People are so entrenched in this habit that any notion of abandoning it might seem tantamount to stepping off into outer space! Indeed, if one were to take Jesus' words too literally, without understanding their spiritual meaning, he or she might never even make it out of bed in the morning.
Well, for one thing, I think Jesus wanted us to trust the simple fact that God takes care of us just as He cares for all the little creatures. We get so caught up in trying to be the arbiters of our own fate. It seems to me that our need is to quiet down long enough to realize that God is the great Arbiter of all existence, the one and only divine "Mover and Shaker" of the universe, so to speak. We reflect God. He creates, gives life, for His own pleasure and joy. Sharing His love is ours to do as His children.
For some of us, a realization of these spiritual truths involves a wrestling with human pride. Perhaps ego, with its controlling, dominating, headlong practices is getting in the way. But ego has no absolute authority. Mortal ego is subdued by our expression of God's nature-by meekness, by the desire to know and do good, and to acknowledge our lives as under the control of God alone. Perhaps for others, fear might be the impediment to a greater trust in spiritual causation. One's understanding of God may seem to be darkened by feelings that we're remote from Him or that He's abstract. This is healed by prayer-by desiring to know God's real nature. It is possible to find tangible proof that God is near us, watching over us. It's as we awake to know and feel God as ever-present Love that fears fade away and we experience a newfound sense of peace, confidence, and trust. This awakening results in the healing of sickness and the resolution of trouble.
These ideas are based on Christian Science, discovered by Mary Baker Eddy in 1866. She described what a growing feeling of closeness to God, and what getting to know Him better-taking "no thought for your life"-can feel like: "To-day my soul can only sing and soar. An increasing sense of God's love, omnipresence, and omnipotence enfolds me. Each day I know Him nearer, love Him more, and humbly pray to serve Him better" (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 174).