BOSTON — For many of us, grocery shopping is as ordinary and inescapable as brushing our teeth or cleaning up the kitchen.
That's how I felt early the other morning, when my two-wheeled cart toppled over as I shoved it through the automatic doors of the supermarket.
"Not a good start to the day," I muttered to myself as I stomped down Aisle One.
The shopping took even longer than usual because so many items had not yet been put out on the shelves. Eventually I got to the checkout counter - where I was warmly greeted by a packer who had helped me several times before. She has the gentlest nature and the most spontaneous smile I've ever seen in a supermarket.
We chatted like old friends while the checker rang my items up. But I was so distracted by our conversation that I picked up and signed the wrong credit card slip.
"Not again!" I protested. "I hope this isn't the way my day is going to go."
"I'll just pray for clarity of mind for all of us," said the packer quietly.
That was just what I needed to hear, and I found myself responding, "Isn't it wonderful to know we already have that!"
As I left, she called after me, "And remember, 'You can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth you.' "
I felt richly blessed by that reference to the fourth chapter of Philippians. It was nice to think about all the other people that young woman would be encouraging during the course of her workday. And I knew that with Christ's strength, I would have no trouble tossing off the burden of tiresome chores and niggly little accidents.
Later, it occurred to me that things would have been much better if I had left my irritation at the front door. I could have made a special point of wheeling in more than I planned to wheel out. I could have entered with a cart filled with good thoughts. I could have waved a supermarket flier of my own, figuratively speaking, promoting any number of God-based specials, all of them new every day!
Like this one: "Be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and ... put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Eph. 4:23, 24). True holiness and renewal are worthy goals, and well within the reach of each one of us. But as I look back on that encounter, it was the woman's reference to "mind" that had especially warmed my heart. I've appreciated learning to treat Mind as a synonym for God. This broadens, strengthens, and clarifies a person's concept of God's role in our lives.
Mary Baker Eddy, who provided an invaluable key to the Bible in her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," says unequivocally within its pages: "Mind's control over the universe, including man, is no longer an open question, but is demonstrable Science. Jesus illustrated the divine Principle and the power of immortal Mind by healing sickness and sin and destroying the foundations of death" (pg. 171).
This affirms that God's children don't have and don't need personal, private minds with which to see, hear, act, create, or heal. Mind, God, does it all perfectly, and we are created to express the intelligence and ability of divine Mind.
Too often we are shown persuasive evidence of a force that opposes this only Mind. We're misled into believing that a human brain constitutes our mind; and that this material mind of ours is vulnerable to anger, hatred, intolerance, sickness, greed, limitation, impairment, and on and on. Also, that these are all an inevitable part of the human condition.
However, a prayerful study of the Bible draws us away from a belief in personal minds that are manipulated or manipulating, confused, discouraged, fearful, lustful, malicious, prideful, self-willed, envious - or even frustrated in the supermarket aisles!
What the Scriptures reveal is our changeless, spiritual status as the expression of Mind's power and activity. As the flawless reflection of the only creator, and thus constituted of the imperishable qualities of Spirit.
In fact, the Bible contains any number of irresistible specials - eternal truths about God and you - and they're all available this week! No need of refrigeration. No expiration date. They've already stood the test of time.
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society