On Huck Finn, rivers, and spiritual reality

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

Sometimes I feel a little like one of Mark Twain's characters. Like Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn. Maybe you've felt that way, too. As though you're sitting on the bank of a river on a summer's day, eyes half-open, simply counting the pieces of driftwood as they float by or, perhaps, dreamily watching the circles disappear each time a fish slaps the water.

And all the while, so much is being missed - all that's unseen just beneath the surface. There's a whole world we aren't seeing. And don't you sense that at some point you will have to leave the riverbank and actually go into the water if you ever hope to know what that world is really like? The driftwood on its journey or the occasional leaping fish is only a hint, a glimpse, a preview. But so much more is waiting to be discovered.

It's something like that when it comes to understanding the spiritual reality of our lives, as well. There are all kinds of glimpses or hints of God's goodness, of His spiritual power, coming to us. But if we're only sitting on the side of the river as it flows past, we won't have much more than those glimpses. Of course, the glimpses are important. But, again, there's so much more. So much more of the real beauty and love of God's universe to discover, to understand, to experience.

We need to get beneath the surface. And to participate. We need to take part in what is actually going on - in the life-transforming currents of divine reality. In the Bible, the book of James counsels that we should be "doers of the word, and not hearers only ..." (1:22).

It's as you express God's goodness, beauty, and love that you know what these spiritual qualities actually mean to your life and that you truly experience their transforming power. Your life is blessed. You gain deeper purpose. You find healing, for a broken life or a broken body.

Understanding spiritual reality, living it, demonstrating it, isn't a dream or an abstraction. It's the day-to-day practice of the Science of Christianity. It is living based on law. In the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy writes of the ministry and life of Christ Jesus. How, through spiritual understanding, he was able to see, or realize, the true nature of God's creation. Jesus knew that the truth of our spiritual identity was present right where the uninspired, uninformed human perception was distorted, limited, and materialistic in perspective. And it was from having this spiritually scientific, or law-based, standpoint that Jesus expressed dominion over all sorts of difficult or destructive physical conditions. This was also the basis on which he healed the sick. As Science and Health explains: "Jesus of Nazareth was the most scientific man that ever trod the globe. He plunged beneath the material surface of things, and found the spiritual cause" (pg. 313).

Something that helps us actually participate in the divine reality is the recognition that, as with Jesus, it's absolutely natural for each of us to express God, who is pure Spirit and real Love, who creates each of us in His own likeness. That's the way of all genuine creation. If Spirit creates us, we are spiritual. If Love creates us, we can only be loving. That is our nature. It is who we are.

Once you've accepted this fundamental truth, it becomes impossible to stay stuck on the riverbank. You'll readily take part in living the divine reality. And the more you express those qualities of God - the grace, joy, peace, love, and goodness of divine Spirit - the more wonderful and meaningful your life will become. Every day, in every way.

There is a river, the streams

whereof shall make glad the

city of God, the holy place of

the tabernacles of the most

High. God is in the midst of

her; she shall not be moved:

God shall help her, and

that right early.

Psalms 46:4, 5

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