AN item from a small-town newspaper came across my desk the other day. Normally I don't think I would have expected to find something humorous in a community's weekly police log. But the first incident in the log presented one of those inexplicable little mysteries -- the strange case of ``a suspicious vehicle'' that ``kept driving into a driveway.'' And what's even more puzzling, the car was then observed to be ``gone on arrival''! The police report continued on from one such incident to the next. And as it did, the various accounts revealed a slice of life that, although sometimes humorous, was also rather telling. I felt as though a neighbor had opened his back door and was inviting me to look inside and see another view of what it could be like to live in the America of Norman Rockwell and white picket fences and town parks and homemade pies.
I didn't find any serious violence to speak of, no sensational crimes or government fraud. But in the numerous minor incidents that week, you could read between the lines and recognize the kind of frustrations that men and women confront almost every day in their lives.
There was even a lesson in that phantom automobile that was ``gone on arrival.'' I realized of course that the words were not actually intended the way I was reading them. Yet the report had made me think of how so much of human life feels to so many people these days. A person has hopes and dreams, works hard to get ahead, but can find that the end results aren't really very satisfying. Is it worth the effort, we sometimes wonder, if our joy and vitality and energy are all used up in the process? The real value, the lasting happiness, can appear elusive. And even when someone may feel he has finally ``arrived'' in his career or personal life, still, something is too often missing or has been lost along the way. Often the good we long for seems ``gone on arrival.''
Is there a way to have happiness and purpose and a useful life and fulfillment that stay? Many who have turned to the Science of Christ, as exemplified by Jesus, are learning that the answer is yes. Near the close of his ministry the Saviour would tell his followers: ``As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.''1
Even today, this joy that Christ Jesus was speaking of is a joy that can remain in our lives -- and remain full. For Jesus, the real goodness of life could be both permanent and abundant because he knew the source to be his Father, divine Love, the infinite God. The source wasn't in materialism or even in well-intentioned human efforts and talents. Jesus demonstrated that because all the substantial good and purpose and joy in life have the one eternal God originating them, they also have immortal expression in man, who is God's image and likeness.
This is the Science of Christ, the law of God, which speaks to our spiritual sense with an uncompromising message of the glory of divine reality. Through the humbling yet exalting action of prayer we can come to know this divine reality as our own reality -- as the only reality. In other words, when we turn to God and turn our lives over to Him for direction and meaning, we discover that we are, in truth, His man, Love's reflection.
This means that there has to be something so much more to who we are than the presumption of frustrated mortals always falling just a little short of their ideals, or missing out on a sense of conscious worth, or unable to achieve a truly productive life. Such a faulty picture of identity is in fact not at all who we are. And in prayer and in a heart-searching study of the Bible, which is wonderfully illuminated by Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, there is a wealth of true identity waiting for each of us to discover. As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health, ``The admission to one's self that man is God's own likeness sets man free to master the infinite idea.''2
God's pure, spiritual likeness, being all that God would have us to be -- that's an identity worth admitting, worth praying for. It's worth everything. And the real good that constitutes your individuality is certainly never ``gone on arrival.''
When we catch a glimpse of who we are in God's image, it's as though our spiritual sense were saying, ``Yes, that's the way it really is. That's the way it always has been -- always must be.'' So, stop for a moment and listen. You really have arrived. You're in God's kingdom -- to stay.
1John 15:9-11. 2Science and Health, p. 90.
This is a condensed version of an editorial that appeared in the March 21 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel. - NO BIBLE VERSE TODAY -