I saw the flame

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

Early one morning my friend called. "Did you realize the Olympic torch is in town today?" she asked.

"Yes, but do you know where it's going to pass through?"

"Right down in front of your office at about 3 p.m.," she laughed.

"Well, come down and let's watch it together."

At 2:30 my friend arrived. People were gathering on the sidewalk, so we went out. At 3:00 a parade of vehicles - commercial sponsors handing out free flags and sodas - came down the street. Some random cars and school buses filtered through. A voice over a loudspeaker announced that the torch was on the way, any minute now. Two men on rollerblades, selling souvenirs, came along. By then it was close to 3:30, and I needed to pick up our daughter from school. Finally, a truck came slowly down the street, and we glimpsed the runner behind it, holding high the Olympic torch, ablaze with the flame symbolizing uninterrupted light. What a thrill. It was worth the wait. But what a lot of distractions had come along before we saw the flame. I had been tempted to wonder if it would ever arrive, and even to give up waiting.

Later, I saw this as a metaphor. Every spiritual healing I've had has been a moment of "I saw the flame." The flame in those moments has been the light of the Christ - the truth of each of us as the very expression of God, divine Spirit. This light is God's knowing, His awareness of His all-inclusive perfection and goodness. It's when we come into line with the way God is seeing His universe, including man, that we see the flame. We see healing or a return of harmony to our life because, as we look out from the standpoint of light, the dark shadows of the ignorance of God's allness - disease, addiction, fear, lack - disappear.

That's what Christ Jesus proved. His healing work was the natural effect of seeing what God sees about His creation. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, explains it this way: "The physical healing of Christian Science results now, as in Jesus' time, from the operation of divine Principle, before which sin and disease lose their reality in human consciousness and disappear as naturally and as necessarily as darkness gives place to light and sin to reformation. Now, as then, these mighty works are not supernatural, but supremely natural" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. xi).

Sometimes I've had to wait patiently for this light to come, just as I had to wait patiently for the torch. In fact, sometimes I've felt as if there were a pre-torch parade going on in my thought. There was uncertainty as to what the light might look like and whether I'd recognize it. There were distractions - random diversion or amusement; "sales tactics" convincing me that I needed something other than the light or something to enhance my appreciation of the light; doubt that the light would ever come; concerns about other obligations that needed tending to. But as I've calmly persisted in waiting and listening, the light has come, and it's been worth the wait.

One time I was losing hearing in one of my ears. This problem had persisted for a couple of weeks, and I'd been praying to see as God sees and hear as God hears - trouble-free. I felt inspired, steady assurances that the light would come, despite concerns that this lapse of time might mean that I'd never hear correctly again. One morning as I sat at my desk praying, I felt a divine message that the light was coming and that I should just be still until I saw its full illumination. As I sat there, I became specifically aware of God as the only Judge - the only one who knows any assessment of anyone or anything - and His judgment sees only perfection and goodness. I also humbly let go of some self-righteous, judgmental attitudes I'd had about other people, knowing that God did not see these people this way, and I could only see them the way He sees them. As I sat there feeling the cleansing peace of this revelation, I felt an adjustment in my ear, and my hearing was restored.

It doesn't have to take time to see as God sees. It can come in a moment of pure yielding to God's allness and onliness. But if you're distracted by a pre-torch parade, be patient and still. Keep your mental eye trained on what you are waiting for. It will come. It is always at hand. It is as present as you are, for as God's emanation, you are the flame - the light of the Christ.

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