`To be, or not to be...'
SOME expressions become so much a part of a culture--even of the world--that everyone knows them. Shakespeare's play that tells of a Danish prince's moral struggle is well known. Writers of every age have taken pen in hand to set down stories and histories that relate individuals' battles to over come evil with good, and wrong with right. Contemporary men and women, writers like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jacobo Timerman, Maya Angelou, come to crossroads in their lives where a choice--often many choices on many occasions--must be made. Sometimes these are moral decisions wrought out on a world stage. At other times no one knows of the struggle but the person who must make the choice.
I note those three individuals because they're ones whose books I've read recently. While each person is quite different, they remind me that even under the most challenging circumstances, there are men and women who have prevailed against what might have seemed to be insurmountable obstacles.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, occasionally mentioned men and women whose lives stood out in this way. Of course, anyone who is familiar with her writings realizes that the place Christ Jesus occupied in her thought and life is unique and singular. She saw him as Saviour and the Son of God--as the very embodiment of what it is utterly to live as the child of God. Undoubtedly it was that deep love of Christ which enabled her to value and honor goodness, bravery, and upright character wherever they were to be found. There is a link between the goodness and profoundly tested character of courageous men and women on the one hand and our own love for Christ Jesus on the other. We need contemporary models of excellence, models of self-sacrifice and love and goodness. Such models lend support to the spiritual awakening within us, urging us to be strong, worthy, and able. Mrs. Eddy wrote often of how the human heart needs nourishment, strong doses of patience, tenderness, perseverance, courage, and sympathy. She appreciated the example of good and brave men and women in her own day, people like Florence Nightingale, Clara Barton, and William Lloyd Garrison.
To you who look for reason of your hope, know that there dwells in each man and woman, and in each of life's struggles, the grand potential for spiritual rebirth and discovery. Your very desire to live and know what is good and true impels godly discovery. That's the message of the Scriptures.
And while we may face from time to time the onslaught of material vacuity and agnosticism, there lies at hand a spiritual armor. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures Mrs. Eddy describes the armor of divinity: ``At all times and under all circumstances, overcome evil with good. Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil. Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you.''1
Man's destiny--your destiny--is to image forth the Life which is God. Regardless of all that the material senses may scream at us in tragedy about the finite nature of life and selfhood, Christian Science reveals that man is the spiritual image and likeness of God, and that spiritual likeness cannot be destroyed--it forever prevails!
Following the statement above regarding the armor of divinity, Science and Health explains, ``The cement of a higher humanity will unite all interests in the one divinity.'' The Psalmist, even in the midst of severe conflict, felt the birth of that higher humanity. It foreshadowed the supremacy of divine Life and Love and prophesied man as the child of God. His song can become our own: ``Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God.... But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill.... I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me.''2
This spiritual sustenance is the divine reality and the human necessity of man's eternal oneness with God. What a privilege it is to know that we can join the ranks of the brave and courageous who have come before us and thus have helped to advance the welfare of mankind. It's a brotherhood and sisterhood under the care of God's tender mercies and never-failing love.
1Science and Health, p. 571. 2Psalms 3:2-5. This is a condensed version of an editorial that appears in the February 2 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ. II Corinthians 2:14