'There's no place like space'
A Christian Science perspective on daily life
That's the title of a book by Tish Rabe, chosen by my 6-year-old granddaughter, Brittany, from the box of books for little customers inside the door of the diner in which we were having French toast and bacon one Saturday morning last month.
While we waited for our breakfast, Brittany patiently explained to me that in ancient times people built stone towers to study the sky more closely. Today scientists are planning projects that could take people into space for a weekend vacation - and she would like to be among the first to sign up.
So why is Brittany so fascinated by space travel?
Pulling a paperback titled "Space" by Will Osborne and Mary Pope Osborne from her coat pocket, she pointed out that when we look at the night sky, we see just a few of the stars that are in the universe. Even on the clearest and darkest night, only about 2,000 stars can be seen without a telescope.
Astronomers think there may be as many as 10 billion trillion stars in the universe. Two thousand were not enough to satisfy the starry-eyed Brittany. She couldn't wait to respond to the book's invitation, "Get your notebook, get your backpack, and get ready to blast off on your own research mission in space."
I think Brittany is already halfway there.
In the months ahead, I'm sure we'll have many more opportunities to discuss infinity - especially infinity as it is understood spiritually. What mattered on this particular morning was that her enthusiasm had broken my own ties with earthbound thinking and set me free.
I thought of Mary Baker Eddy's challenge in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures": "What can fathom infinity! How shall we declare Him, till, in the language of the apostle, 'we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ'?" (p. 519). In the same passage, the author answered her own question: "Mortals can never know the infinite, until they throw off the old man and reach the spiritual image and likeness."
That thought drew me to something else in Brittany's book: "The longer Galileo looked into the heavens, the more certain he became that Earth was not the center of everything."
No doubt about it. Earthbound thinking has to be detached from our lives like the launch rocket from a spacecraft, so that we are free to respond to the Apostle Paul's challenge to become more Christlike, and to grow, with other people of faith, into a spiritual maturity that better equips us to do God's work. There the sky is never the limit. Life becomes a daily adventure in which we can rejoice in the new ideas God is constantly revealing to us, and in the fresh opportunities for service that await us.
Through prayer, we learn how to free ourselves to become all that God intended us to be - spiritual pioneers with an exhilarating, deeply rewarding mission to love and help heal humanity. We're also enabled to respond to the call in a hymn written by Violet Hay to
Break earth-bound fetters, sweep away the veil,
Show the new heaven and earth that shall prevail.
("Christian Science Hymnal," No. 66)
You don't need to spend a weekend in space to discover that new heaven and earth. And as Brittany may well learn over her French toast one day soon, any of us can break those fetters without fear, because all of our missions are under the control of a guarding, guiding Father-Mother who knows our orbits intimately and will never let us stray off course.