Hearts that burn
AS two men journey one afternoon from Jerusalem to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles away, another man joins them, whom they don't recognize. The two men are disciples of Jesus, and they tell the stranger about Jesus of Nazareth, a great prophet who was condemned and crucified three days before. They add that some had visited the tomb on rumors that he might be alive but found it empty. They appear disillusioned and convinced that they will not see him again.
After rebuking their little faith, the stranger, who is actually Jesus, explains all the Scriptural prophecies about the Messiah. Later, while dining, they recognize that the stranger who has just broken bread and offered a blessing is Christ Jesus, the risen Saviour.
At this moment Jesus departs, but the spiritual idea of Life -- the impersonal and deathless Christ -- remains in their hearts and minds. Turning to each other, they say, ``Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?''1
Surely the disciples had glimpsed that life was much more than a material structure. The promise of the resurrection had been fulfilled! Life could no longer be regarded the same old way -- a cycle of material birth, growth, maturity, decay. Couldn't they, more than before, see that Life is God, the eternal cause that never had a beginning and can never have an end? They must have felt the exultation of knowing that man's life is indestructible and eternally in God's care.
Jesus' appearance to all his disciples invigorated them with a perception that man's life is inseparable from Spirit, God. This deepened their love for God and man and redirected their lives. Armed with the realization that life is spiritual, they spread the gospel and healed others of sin and sickness. The New Testament explains, ``And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.''2
Many have found that Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, has opened up the spiritual message of the Bible and, consequently, has changed their lives. Studying its pages has been like a walk to Emmaus, for it has opened their eyes to divine Love's allness and to the true nature of man as Love's spiritual, deathless offspring. Their view of life has been de-materialized, and this has resulted in moral regeneration and physical healing.
Speaking of the Master's resurrection, Mrs. Eddy writes: ``In witness of his divine commission, he presented the proof that Life, Truth, and Love heal the sick and the sinning, and triumph over death through Mind, not matter. This was the highest proof he could have offered of divine Love.''3
Imbibing the spirit of Jesus' teachings and the immense significance of his resurrection and ascension, we experience a kind of resurrection to a new life of spiritual consecration. We realize that man's true being is in Spirit, God, and not in matter. This realization brings to bear upon human experience the redeeming power of Christ. And our hearts begin to burn with a deeper love for God and man. Our spiritual affections are renewed and strengthened, and society's sometimes lax moral attitudes no longer hinder us from doing what is right. Fear of social stigma and peer pressure is disarmed by the vibrant desire to be Christ's disciples.
A heart fired by Christ, Truth, cannot avoid radiating Christlike grace and power. It is overflowing with love and ready to heal others. When we have such a heart, we ignite the hearts of others who are searching for a spiritual meaning to life. And because it is not just the letter of Christianity but its spirit that we impart, the inspiring results may well remind us of those experienced by the early Christians after Jesus' ascension.
1Luke 24:32. 2Acts 4:33. 3Science and Health, p. 54.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3:16