IN the United States, this week is devoted to encouraging people to read and appreciate the Bible. Although its writings are centuries old, this ``Book of books'' is still a top seller and is one of the most widely translated books in the world.
For many people, the Bible is a source of inspiration and strength because it tells of God's love for humanity, particularly as it is expressed in the life of Christ Jesus. The Bible also gives us guidelines for living--such as the Ten Commandments, which are found in Exodus (see 20:3-17). And through the lives of people whose stories are told in the Bible, we gain new insights into man's relation to the all-loving God.
Yet for all the joy that many people get from the Bible, there are others for whom it is a closed book. When this is the case, the teachings of Christ Jesus, which provide such hope to so many, may seem as if they were meant only for his time. Without Jesus here to actually perform the miracles, we may feel that the Bible's promises cannot be believed today. Yet, on the night before he was crucified, Jesus prayed to God for his apostles and for those who would come after them. He said, John's Gospel records, ``Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word'' (17:20).
This statement, along with others from the Master, assures us that Jesus expected others not just to follow him, but also to be able to do the healing and saving work that he did. In essence, Jesus was inviting his listeners--and us --into an active relationship with God. He was saying that we each can understand and experience the goodness of God right in our own lives.
Examples of God's tender care for man occur throughout the Scriptures both before and after Jesus' life. To study them thoughtfully is to open our hearts to God's love for each of us. Yet simply reading the Scriptures may not be enough, especially if we aren't understanding the full implications of their teaching. We may think that God took care of people ``back then,'' but that He is no longer interested in His creation. Sometimes, we may turn to the Bible in moments of crisis but be unable to see its relevance to our lives on a continuing basis. This is where Christian Science can help to bring the Bible's message to life for us.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, was a student of the Bible from childhood. But it wasn't until she was physically healed by a deeper insight into the Gospel's message that the Scriptures opened up for her in a totally different way.
The impact of this experience was so dramatic that she spent the next three years studying the Bible. She devoted her time to understanding how God, divine Mind, had healed her. The result of her work was a book called Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. In it, she writes, ``I knew the Principle of all harmonious Mind-action to be God, and that cures were produced in primitive Christian healing by holy, uplifting faith; but I must know the Science of this healing, and I won my way to absolute conclusions through divine revelation, reason, and demonstration'' (p. 109).
Among her conclusions is the fact that man is actually spiritual and inseparable from God. She also was convinced that the healing power of God, which Christ Jesus relied on, is just as potent in modern times as it had been during Jesus' life. ``The Science of this healing,'' she found, was able to heal others. And after her book was published, it opened up the Scriptures for individuals who then were able to experience the reality of the Bible's teachings right in their own lives.
The Bible and Science and Health are here for you today. They can bring healing--physical, mental, social, any kind you need--to your life. Let the power of God work in your thoughts and in your relationships with others. And like the people of the Bible, you will see a difference!