WE read in the Bible that God appeared to Moses in the wilderness, imparting to him strength and reassurance, coupled with a new estimate of his own capabilities. But the thought of trying to share with the rest of the people this new sense of God's supporting presence and power by describing what God is like prompted Moses to ask, ``When I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?'' Then the Bible tells us, ``And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.''1 Doesn't the name I AM convey the sense of God as unequaled, as a very perceptible presence, always with us, protecting and guiding? The great I AM delivered the children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt.
The Bible illustrates throughout its pages the value of knowing what God is like and of relying on this knowledge. Christ Jesus understood God to be the one universal Father, divine Love, equally available to everyone everywhere, and this understanding was the basis of his healing works. Many people find it difficult to accept an anthropomorphic concept of God. But to be introduced to Him as infinite wisdom and Love is to find Him both understandable and demonstrable. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, gives a spiritual sense of God's nature in a poem entitled ``The Mother's Evening Prayer.'' The first verse reads:
O gentle presence, peace and joy
O Life divine, that owns each
waiting hour, Thou Love that guards the nestling's faltering flight!
Keep Thou my child on upward
God can appear to the receptive thought of any one of us and go on doing so, imparting the gentleness, peace, joy, and power that destroy harshness, strife, depression, weakness, and so forth. God, the very Life of man, is always present. But it's usually only during times when our own way hasn't gone quite right that we're prepared to recognize the value of His direction, of the momentum and vitality that we know we haven't originated ourselves.
God is Love, always present, but perhaps never so welcome as when we have a young child to care for or a fledgling career to get off the ground. Yet what a pity to think of this name for God only when we feel a particular need for protection. We can feel and benefit from divine Love all the time if we really know God as Love. And what about the child we're caring for? Can we count on God's protecting love for him too? Don't we perhaps need to know better what our child is really like? His true being, and everyone's, is not a fleshly personality but the spiritual expression, the reflection, of God, including all the qualities of the divine name and nature.
Mrs. Eddy asks: ``Art thou still unacquainted with thyself? Then be introduced to this self. `Know thyself!' as said the classic Grecian motto. Note well the falsity of this mortal self! Behold its vileness, and remember this poverty-stricken `stranger that is within thy gates.' Cleanse every stain from this wanderer's soiled garments, wipe the dust from his feet and the tears from his eyes, that you may behold the real man, the fellow-saint of a holy household.''3
When we remember the custom of a child's bearing his father's name, it's easier for us to identify more closely with the spiritual sense of ourselves and everyone else, because God is truly our Father. Then we can more readily live up to our true potential.
1Exodus 3:13, 14. 2Poems, p. 4. 3Retrospection and Introspection, p. 86.
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DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare Psalms 75:1