WHEN I go to an art museum, I feel something good happening to me. I have a new buoyancy, a fresh outlook on things. I've often tried to analyze why I feel this way. The other day I finally came to glimpse the answer. I realized that viewing art helps me see things in a different perspective. It helps develop within me what might be called an inner eye. It's as though the artists were saying, ``Look at things this way. Don't you see there is something more to what's around you than just the literal impressions of the visual sense?''
In the pictures I discern a different way of seeing the effect of light. I see colors with greater vividness. This enables me to be more aware of color, light, texture, balance, and order around me after I leave the exhibition.
From all this you can readily see that I'm no great art connoisseur. I had only a rather rudimentary course in art appreciation in school. But that doesn't keep me from having my own wonderful experience when I go to an exhibition. Part of the reason may be that, as a Christian Scientist, I bring something of a spiritual experience to my viewing of the artist's work. Christian Scientists love Christ Jesus and are always learning something from his life and teachings as they study the Bible on a regular basis.
Jesus was always looking beneath the surface of things, beyond material appearances. This is why his parables are timeless. From the fowls of the air he drew a lesson of his heavenly Father's care for all. In the rain he saw an indication of the Father's impartiality. The tiny mustard seed indicated to him the potential for growth and achievement through faith in God.
In Jesus' healing work the same element of seeing beyond the material sense of things is apparent. Right where those around him saw a sinner or a sick person, Jesus was able to see a different picture. He saw the man and woman of God's creating as good, sinless, pure, and whole. He once said, ``Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.''1
It's important that we cultivate spiritual seeing, a discernment based on acceptance of the Bible's statement that God created man in His own image and that God saw everything He had made as being good.2 The Bible also tells us that God is Spirit. Therefore His offspring must be spiritual. It's this spiritual reality that we need to begin glimpsing in order to demonstrate something of the well-being that comes from God alone.
To be sure, this takes looking beyond the material surface of things and seeing creation from a different perspective. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, speaks of the role of spiritual discernment in Jesus' healing work. She writes: ``Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick.''3
A basic message of Christianity is the importance of looking beyond appearances and accepting the truth of the goodness of God and the goodness of His creation. This is a way we can all express the kind of Christian love that Jesus exemplified in his life and in his healing work. This spiritual love helps us see others in a different light. It enables us to view all of God's creation from a new perspective, one in which we can help forward the healing of sickness as well as sin through a recognition that they are no part of what God has truly created.
We don't have to go to an art museum to learn this lesson. It's the essential message of the Bible.
1John 7:24. 2See Genesis 1:27, 31. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pp. 476-477.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? II Corinthians 10:7