ONE heartening aspect of the age that we live in is the progress made on human rights. Certainly there is a long way to go in improving the world's record on this issue. But the inroads the subject has already made into the political and diplomatic agenda give something to cheer about!
This all-important issue, however, will not be wholly resolved when mankind's rights to political and religious freedom have been won, as vital a goal as that is. There is a higher realm of rights that we need to stand for. We have divine rights, and we need to work diligently in prayer to assert those.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, puts it this way in her sermon The People's Idea of God: ``Mental Science alone grasps the standard of liberty, and battles for man's whole rights, divine as well as human." Speaking of divine Soul, God, she goes on to point out: ``Above the platform of human rights let us build another staging for diviner claims,--even the supremacy of Soul over sense, wherein man cooperates with and is made subject to his Maker." Isn't that wonderful? We ha ve the right to freedom from the suffering of sickness, freedom from the tyranny of sin. We have the freedom to be Godlike!
These aren't rights that a human government can truly grant us or, really, deny us. The most benign government, providing the most generous material health-care system wouldn't claim to be able to guarantee our health. The most autocratic government banning all moral misbehavior can't touch the underlying problem of sin, namely the desire for self-indulgence.
It takes divine Science, or God's law, to deal adequately with sickness and sin. And divine Science does this by getting to the root of what it is that would deny us our God-given spiritual liberty and Soul-derived happiness. The Bible calls this the carnal mind, and it is what includes the thoughts of sickness and sin. This fettered human thinking needs to be challenged in order for us to find our legitimate, spiritual freedom.
How is such thinking challenged? By looking to the Saviour, Christ Jesus, for an understanding of the true nature of the Godlike man that is our actual, spiritual identity. Jesus' expression of Christ--the understanding of man's true being as the reflection of God--stands forever as a testimony to our divine rights. The Bible, in Mark's Gospel, tells about Jesus' restoring the sight of blind Bartimaeus. In healing works such as this, Jesus literally proved man's right to health instead of sickness, no ma tter how long an ailment has lasted. And Luke's Gospel shows us how by bringing repentance to Zacchaeus, restoring him from corruption to honesty, Jesus showed man's right to purity, no matter how commonly acceptable impurity appears to be. And finally, by his own resurrection, Jesus forever illustrated man's right to eternal Life. Just as a Bill of Rights sets a national standard for freedoms, so the Master's example is the spiritual standard against which human experience can be measured.
In contrast to the political standard that nations must work to gain, however, the Christly standard is already the actual spiritual truth of man's experience. It needs only to be prayerfully recognized and lived. Our right to be Godlike actually derives from the eternal truth that the only real man is entirely spiritual, created by God, as the Bible assures us.
Standing for this spiritual right takes courage in the face of worldly thought to the contrary. But it is worth it. It brings inevitable, practical healing to us and to the world.