IT'S one thing to study fossils; it's quite another thing to turn into one! This came forcibly to me the other day after talking with a friend. He was telling me how upset he was by the behavior of some people he had worked with. He was just quivering with indignation as he told me about it. But when I asked a question, I was startled to find that all this had taken place years ago. Yet he talked as though it had happened last night.
Obviously a lot has happened in the meantime, but he's gotten stuck in the past-like a fossil embedded in a layer of sedimentary rock. If you watch people carefully, you'll find this is not as uncommon as we might think. People keep grudges. Some are refighting wars that were over generations ago. Others look back so often to "the good old days" that they never see or appreciate the good happening today.
A key aspect of Christianity is its power to keep the "old" in a constant state of newness. In Revelation, God, divine Spirit, declares, "I make all things new" (21:5). This sense of newness, revival, healing, and progress is evidence of the energy of Spirit at work in our lives. So often people get themselves into a rut. Life feels stale. We get set in our ways. Yet the transforming power of true Christianity is as vital today as in Jesus' time. This power fills life with new inspiration, with progress and healing. It awakens us to the infinite power and authority of God. It makes our religious faith practical and meaningful.
Sometimes, though, people go through periods when their spiritual life seems stereotyped, too. It becomes a matter of going through the motions rather than a fruitful sense of communion with Spirit. It would be terrible to feel that one's religion had become fossilized! But the leaven of Christianity, the divine Science that Jesus presented, is always at work, and eventually the recognition of all things being made new breaks through.
In an article called "Voices of Spring," Mary Baker Eddy, the author of the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, writes, "Midst the falling leaves of old-time faiths, above the frozen crust of creed and dogma, the divine Mind-force, filling all space and having all power, upheaves the earth" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 331). Many can testify that Science and Health has done this very thing in their lives. It has broken apart their limited views of the role of Christianity in today's world. It has enabled them to see the relevance of Christ Jesus' teachings. And most important for many, it has revealed that Christianity's power to heal the sick and sinning is unabated.
Those who are studying Science and Health find that they read the Bible with new eyes. Its spiritual sense is unlocked, and the truths of God and man shine out from the Bible's pages. Science and Health is a book that is designed to break apart mankind's limited sense of Jesus' mission. It shakes the reader free from "the frozen crust of creed and dogma."
Writing to those who look into Science and Health for an understanding of Christianity's healing power, Mrs. Eddy counsels: "Although this volume contains the complete Science of Mind-healing, never believe that you can absorb the whole meaning of the Science by a simple perusal of this book. The book needs to be studied, and the demonstration of the rules of scientific healing will plant you firmly on the spiritual groundwork of Christian Science. This proof lifts you high above the perishing fossils of theories already antiquated, and enables you to grasp the spiritual facts of being hitherto unattained and seemingly dim" (p. 147).
Christianity creates no fossils. It liberates us from hardened habits of thought. It opens our hearts to healing and renewal. The eternal Christ, Truth, revealed in Science and Health, is ever at work in human consciousness. It is breaking apart and casting aside whatever would limit and entomb man. None of us wants to be buried in the past, and we have the divine right to see new views of God's glory today.
*The Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine, contains more articles about God's power to heal.