Rise higher

THERE were two empty seats next to my window seat in the plane. I was elated! I could spread out and focus undisturbed on an important project. The three-hour flight had become a most timely opportunity. Suddenly, a passenger from across the aisle moved into the end seat. He seemed to be struggling with all the symptoms of an overpowering cold. I realized I could come down to disappointment or I could rise and pray. The Bible tells of a man who, through prayerful trust in God as the sustaining power of every good purpose, helped to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. The faithful Nehemiah dismissed attempts to draw him away from his God-directed work with this message: ``I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?'' 1 I decided, like Nehemiah, to stay firm on the mount of prayer and to remain undeceived by low-level suggestions of frustration, contagion, deprivation. Instead, I would rise in my understanding of the supremacy of God, omnipresent good. Like Nehemiah, I would ``rise up and build.'' 2 I felt a growing kindliness toward my neighbor. There is a hymn that says of our environment: In atmosphere of Love divine, We live, and move, and breathe; Though mortal eyes may see it not, 'Tis sense that would deceive.3 In the midst of what would appear to be unfavorable conditions we can, through prayer, build a wall of spiritual defense that excludes no one but includes everyone in the encircling embrace of God's law of love. Among several small courtesies, my friend (as I now thought of him) had thoughtfully turned on a light for me. He appeared quieter and more relieved. Soon he put down the book he had been avidly reading the whole time, put a pillow behind his head, and slipped into a quiet, peaceful sleep that lasted until the signal came on to fasten our seat belts for a landing. I had ample time to finish up my work with no interruptions. As he left, he turned and gave me a warm smile. When we meet a challenge, small or large, with love and with a sincere desire to be healed of believing in the power of something contrary to God's eternal government of man, things change. This change bears witness to the influence of the Christ, the divine influence at work in human experience. The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes, ``Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness.'' 4 Listening to ``the divine message'' cleanses human consciousness of self-centeredness, exclusivity, and enables us to discern man in the likeness of Spirit, subject only to God's will of perfect good. God's man, our actual selfhood, is never a victim of physical discord or confinement of any kind. His status includes peace, dominion, freedom. Each of us is actually the child of God, reflecting His nature. It's natural, then, for us to care for others, including all mankind. When Pilate asked Jesus if he was a king, he answered, ``To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.'' 5 Thus, the Master healed the sick and the sinning, a divine possibility for today's followers of the Way-shower. To bear witness to the truth is to realize God's all-presence, all-power, all- knowing. This leaves neither time nor space for a so-called opposite to God's allness. To accept the continuous unfoldment of God's omnipresence is not to disregard evil but to deflate its claims and find healing. We needn't react to a sudden turn of events as though it had the prerogative to interrupt or halt God's law of divine justice for all. We can rise higher. 1 Nehemiah 6:3. 2 Nehemiah 2:18. 3 Christian Science Hymnal, No. 144. 4 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 332. 5 John 18:37.{et

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