ARE we just waiting for spirituality to ``arrive someday''? In the meantime, what about mankind's immediate need for peace and for the proof of God's care? Are we expected to continue putting these on hold for an indefinite time? On the contrary, Christ Jesus' ministry to the world brought a clear and powerful declaration: ``The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.''1
For nineteen centuries we've known of Jesus' assurance that God's kingdom is ``at hand'' now; yet we're tempted to delay putting his teachings to the test. Maybe we imagine accepting God's, Spirit's, reign might interfere with so-called easier ways of dealing with things?
Once I saw a slogan that said something like this: ``If all around you are losing their heads and you're not, you just don't understand the situation.'' Being unaware of what's going on doesn't help when there's an emergency. On the other hand, ``losing our heads'' isn't effective, either.
Not long ago news reports were following a giant storm that was heading our way. And another storm was bearing down on us from a different direction. There was plenty of evidence that many were losing their heads -- including me as I began wondering if I should be out shopping for emergency supplies. As I drove home that evening, I still wasn't sure what I should do next. But by now I was praying earnestly, not only to be more deeply aware of God's present care for all His children but also to know exactly what I should be doing!
Then a phrase I had read came to my thought with quiet comfort: ``Prepare for the reign of Spirit.'' As quickly and as simply as that, I no longer had the slightest doubt about what was expected of me. The words are part of a sentence in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science: ``Let us learn of the real and eternal, and prepare for the reign of Spirit, the kingdom of heaven, -- the reign and rule of universal harmony, which cannot be lost nor remain forever unseen.''2 With this reminder of Spirit's ever-present ``reign and rule of universal harmony'' filling my heart, I began to feel embraced in renewed assurance of untroubled, uninterrupted normalcy.
Quoting St. Paul, Mrs. Eddy writes, ```Now,' cried the apostle, `is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation,' -- meaning, not that now men must prepare for a future-world salvation, or safety, but that now is the time in which to experience that salvation in spirit and in life.''3 In preparing for the ``reign of Spirit,'' I began to challenge each temptation to be fearful of the predictions of danger from inclement weather. I replaced those thoughts silently and specifically with Biblical truths I'd learned and tested in my own experience.
The predicted collision of storm systems never happened. We enjoyed a safe weekend. We had once more been furnished with proof that we are safely in the hands of a loving, all-seeing, tenderly merciful God. His kingdom was again found to be at hand, within reach of every one of us.
As we consider today, tomorrow, and ages to come, we can begin to experience endless proofs of the reign of Spirit present now. And as we acquaint ourselves with God's kingdom, step by step, His lovingkindness brings us past storms of doubt or fear when we look steadfastly to Him and accept His promises as true.
1Mark 1:15. 2Science and Health, p. 208. 3Ibid., p. 39.