SOMETIMES in the middle of the night when all is quiet, I wake up and read. Trying to find reading material in the dark usually wakes my husband as well, so I recently bought a night light. The next night, however, my husband woke up even more completely. When I turned the night light on, he thought the sun was up and it was time to get to work! We had a good laugh in the morning that the dim, quiet light had more effect than the noise of my rummaging.
The Bible speaks of God as the source of light. Of course it's not talking about solar light or artificial light, but about understanding, insight, direction. This is a light that is lasting and inspiring. And man was created to image forth this perfect understanding--to reflect light.
The light of spiritual understanding naturally shines in consciousness when the Christ-idea is controlling thought and action. Christ is the true concept of God's child, our actual nature. Jesus expressed the Christ with a conviction that dispelled the darkness of sin, sickness, and death.
Christ Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew, clearly describes the qualities that shine with the light of God. The Beatitudes, for example, include receptivity, meekness, and peacemaking among the Christly attitudes Jesus knew man has the dominion to express, and they are accompanied by light that brings blessings to our lives.
Christ Jesus goes on to say: ``Ye are the light of the world. . . . Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven'' (Matthew 5:14, 16).
The purpose of shining is to magnify not ourselves, but God. Man has no light of his own; he reflects it from his creator, God. Spiritual understanding, or the knowledge of Spirit, God, isn't given to some and not to others. Insight isn't noisy or arrogant. Light is simple, profound, and moving. It can be spiritually discerned by anyone who is willing to look to God for it. This light has the power to destroy sorrow or any darkness that would try to convince us that we can be separated from Spirit, God.
For example, years ago while I was at college in a state away from my family, I became ill. I felt oblivious, or asleep, to health. A local Christian Scientist family found out that I needed help and arranged to care for me. Their little child at one point walked into my room and talked to me as if all were normal. He then asked me if I wanted something to eat. His innocence was so pure, so fearless, so bright with Christ that I remember it was as though I mentally woke up quite suddenly.
The child's compassion impelled me to reaffirm conscientiously that my health and care were from God. I stopped indulging in the limiting suggestion that my health was dependent on a certain mortal or material circumstance. It was my God-given right to shine with the understanding of God as my Parent and to have the health that goes hand in hand with spiritual understanding. I did get up and eat some, as the child had invited me to. Complete healing quickly followed.
I've found many helpful ideas in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Christian Science Church. One passage that was particularly helpful to me as I thought about God's care for me in this instance is where she speaks of Benjamin, one of Jacob's sons, as expressing ``renewal of affections; self-offering; an improved state of mortal mind; the introduction of a more spiritual origin; a gleam of the infinite idea of the infinite Principle; a spiritual type; that which comforts, consoles, and supports'' (p. 582). With the glimpse of God as all-encompassing Father-Mother, I could feel the support and strength naturally bestowed on me by God. Even more special was an enlarged sense of family that came into view over the following years.
Expressions of Spirit, God, are found everywhere, because God is everywhere. And because Spirit is the only creator, Spirit's reflection, man, can't stop shining brightly with Christliness, with innocence and selflessness. It's natural for us to express such characteristics; and as we do, we help and heal others.
Healing through prayer is explored in more detail in a weekly magazine, the Christian Science Sentinel.