Is religion largely irrelevant in human affairs - merely a form of escapism? Can spirituality relate practically to human needs that seem so material? These questions are answered convincingly in the teaching and example of Christ Jesus. He showed clearly, through his healing works, the potential relatedness of the divine and the human at every point. He related man to God very intimately by calling God ''Father.'' He taught that God is the Father of us all and that God is Spirit. This sense of our sonship with God as His spiritual offspring is within the reach of every individual. And this understanding is relevant, practical, in that it brings strength, reassurance, healing.
Jesus related spirituality to human sufficiency and satisfaction when he said , ''Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.'' n1 And he demonstrated this repeatedly, showing that spiritually based thinking is the primary need.
n1 Matthew 6:33
Does this mean that perfunctory observance of approved religious ritual can be counted on to bring material prosperity? While church attendance is vital, it seems more likely that the kind of worship needed takes the form of thinking and living so as to bring more of the divine nature, implied in spiritual sonship, into human experience. The purpose of this, however, isn't to try to harness divine power for preconceived human objectives; it isn't merely to attain material well-being. Rather, it's to bring human objectives more into accord with the reality of our spiritual sonship and to bear witness to the nature of our creator.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, puts it this way when she says of Jesus: ''Through the magnitude of his human life, he demonstrated the divine Life. Out of the amplitude of his pure affection, he defined Love. With the affluence of Truth, he vanquished error. The world acknowledged not his righteousness, seeing it not; but earth received the harmony his glorified example introduced.'' n2
n2 Science andHeath with key to the Scriptures, p. 54
Magnitude, amplitude, affluence, have no limited connotations. They make human thought bigger, richer, and more outgoing, therefore more productive.
A young violinist once asked: ''What about my playing? Is that just something human?'' Not from the highest standpoint. The musician can begin to see himself as the son of God, expressing divine qualities, rather than as a mortal, simply maneuvering human fingers over catgut strings. Then his performance can't help improving. More appreciation of the beauty and rhythm of the music, deeper feeling, purer intonation, and greater skill can follow, as well as freedom from self-consciousness and self-distrust. His permanent gain is in increased spirituality, a deeper understanding of God and of his own true, immortal nature. The immediate improvement is in better musicianship.
Spirituality may seem abstract from a materialistic point of view, but material things have no lasting value without the vision to utilize them, the love to share them, the wisdom to protect them. But the same vision, love, and wisdom, which are qualities derived from God, soon flower into progress. This is how the grace of God uplifts and regenerates.
Speaking of the Revelator, Mrs. Eddy writes, ''John saw the human and divine coincidence, shown in the man Jesus, as divinity embracing humanity in Life and its demonstration, - reducing to human perception and understanding the Life which is God.'' n3 So spirituality is very relevant in human affairs because it enables us to discern God, understand divine Life, and thereby find healing and progress.
n3 Ibid., p. 561
DAILY BIBLE VERSE Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the spirit shall of the Spirit reap everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Galatians 6:7-9