From extremes to a world in balance
A Christian Science perspective.
A world out of control? If you look around, this is what some might be tempted to contemplate. Circumstances often indicate too much or too little, and conditions out of balance. Diseases such as cancer and diabetes, which involve something in the human body that is out of control or needs regulating, are of growing concern. Accidents seem to threaten anyone with situations that have suddenly spun out of control. And looking to the earth itself, it seems that of late it’s been all about extremes. We’re told the earth quaked in Japan and New Zealand because too much pressure on the tectonic plates needed balancing; that there might be an overactive Atlantic hurricane season to release a buildup of heat in tropical latitudes. Recently, extremes of drought and flood have resulted in simultaneous inundations in places like Minot, N.D., and conflagrations in the American Southwest.
The balance we seek in our own lives, and in those of our families and communities – and that the very earth seems to be crying out for – is fundamentally about the call for healing. In one way or another the human condition needs adjusting, pulling back from the brink. People through the centuries have searched for healing in innumerable ways. And this search has good motives – we want to seek and discover that we can be safe!
The Science of Christ, or Christian Science, is sometimes misunderstood because its practice involves addressing all these concerns by mental, prayerful means – through understanding the truths of Jesus’ teaching. It’s hard for some of us, maybe even most of us, to accept any connection between our understanding of God’s laws of good and the normal functioning of the human condition. Can prayer on its own have any direct bearing on alleviating a flood or curing diabetes? There’s nothing shameful in admitting that the five physical senses tempt us to doubt. But at the same time, as the healing record of Christian Science bears out, there’s infinite value in pressing on toward spiritual solutions for the good of all.
That’s what Mary Baker Eddy taught and proved, and articulated in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” Nothing in this book will tell a reader that sometimes things are just too far gone, or too beyond control, for scientific prayer to make a difference.
There’s allegorical value in the Bible story of Noah. In contrast to the evidence that “the end of all flesh” was coming, he faced down a literal flood because he was attuned to God, looking to Him where others might have been tempted to doubt. Noah was conscious enough of God’s saving power to save himself and his family and all creation. This God-focus was his actual ark – the very means of rising above the waves and enduring, and emerging into the sunshine. “The ark,” wrote Mrs. Eddy, “indicates temptation overcome and followed by exaltation” (“Science and Health,” p. 581). What looked so out of control became the elevating agent and the way forward.
Christian Science promises that as we build our own arks of spiritual enlightenment, we can battle the floods – the temptations to give up or give in because everything is inundating us with evidence that things are surely beyond God’s control. This light is the essence of what Jesus taught and embodied – the Christ, which speaks to each individual in thought, guiding and saving, even when the waters are deep. When the Christ shines in consciousness, exaltation is not just possible; it is inevitable. Ideas come. Conditions change and evolve and adjust.
At the opposite end of the Bible from Genesis, there’s a story about another flood that threatens to destroy the earth itself – a spewing of “error; fear; inflammation; sensuality; subtlety; animal magnetism; envy; revenge” (“Science and Health,” p. 593). But it can’t and it doesn’t. The Christ is there. The understanding of God is enough to vanquish the roaring of a dragon. And it can do the same here and now, as often as needed, until we see “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev. 21:1) – not in ethereal terms but in practical ways characterized by moments of healing. Moments that grow into hours and days of temptations overcome to ever doubt that God is in control of His universe.
It’s interesting to note that at the very point of discussing that Apocalyptic flood’s crescendo, Eddy made reference to something very tender – “receptive hearts” – and brought up the practical importance of sharing the Christ Science with the world: “Millions of unprejudiced minds – simple seekers for Truth, weary wanderers, athirst in the desert – are waiting and watching for rest and drink. Give them a cup of cold water in Christ’s name, and never fear the consequences.... The waters will be pacified, and Christ will command the wave” (p. 570).
Here is a hopeful reminder. The very times when things seem most chaotic, the most extreme, the most out of control, are often when people are most ready to rely on something beyond their human efforts. There’s never been a better time for the Science of Christ to meet them right where they are.
From an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel.