Restoring and renewing

WHEN my wife and I were newly married and needed a home, rental accommodation was hard to get, and house prices were beyond our reach. But there was an answer. Through prayer, we were led to find a small group of 200-year-old stone-built cottages, lying empty, tucked away in the hills near our home city. For a price we could afford, we bought them and moved in. Over a number of years we restored and renewed them. This group of cottages, old and in need of much repair, became a desirable home with continuing usefulness. The process of restoration and renewal can be applied to our institutions, to our friendships and alliances, even to our own lives. The Bible tells us, ``I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord.'' 1 And we read of Christ Jesus' works, which illustrate this divine power. On one occasion the Master encountered a man with a withered hand. ``Stretch forth thy hand,'' he told him. And we read that the man did so, ``and his hand was restored whole as the other.'' 2 We learn of Jacob and his brother Esau finding renewed friendship with each other, and of other individuals and of nations being revitalized toward a right purpose. Throughout the Bible, and above all, in the life and works of the master Christian, we can see the restorative effect of spiritual understanding. What is spiritual understanding? It is a perception that the actual nature of existence is spiritual, and it is characterized by thought that is God-derived and pure rather than sensuous and materialistic. The Bible explains that God, the one, universal creator, is Spirit, not matter. Spirit and matter are opposites. Spirit, not matter, defines reality, is the source and substance of all that genuinely exists. The Bible emphasizes the eternal nature of Spirit. It points out the temporal nature of matter. In his healing and teaching mission, Jesus drew attention to these two diametrically opposed standpoints--the spiritual and the material. In his Sermon on the Mount, he likened the individual who hears and obeys his spiritually based teachings to a man who built his house on a rock, and the disobedient person to a man who built on sand. When the storms came, the house built on the rock stood, while the house built on sand fell.3 Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded the Science of Christ, or Christian Science, has written, ``Belief in a material basis, from which may be deduced all rationality, is slowly yielding to the idea of a metaphysical basis, looking away from matter to Mind as the cause of every effect.'' On the next page she states, ``Metaphysics resolves things into thoughts, and exchanges the objects of sense for the ideas of Soul.'' 4 Soul, Mind, Spirit, are terms for God found, implicitly or explicitly, in the Bible. Christian Science acknowledges God as the only creative power. And because God is Spirit, not matter, the true nature of man, made in God's likeness, is spiritual, not material. Our acceptance of this fact, transcending what our eyes and ears tell us, enables us to develop a spiritual understanding. The effect of such understanding is restoration and renewal on the human scene. Whenever we see a need for restoration in our lives, our homes, our institutions, or in our world generally, it's practical to follow the guidance given to us by Jesus and to begin to discern through prayer that reality in its true sense is infinitely more and better than what the physical senses and materialistic reasoning tell us. This perception helps bring something of that reality to light, and we experience healing. 1 Jeremiah 30:17. 2 Luke 6:10. 3 See Matthew 7:24-27. 4 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pp. 268-269.{et

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