A movie in the 1970s revived joyous memories of dozens of film stars who had danced or sung their way through the golden era of Hollywood musicals. It declared, "That's entertainment!" The film's wholesome escapism has enjoyed several reruns on American television.
But do you feel that people sometimes take escapism to extremes, when they restlessly click away at their TV remote controls and their computer mice, in search of stimulation? For some, quietness seems threatening -- every moment of dead air on radio or TV, every natural pause between songs or commercials, causes anxiety. "What happened?" "What's wrong?" "How can we think without the noise?"
Ironically, this points to what we most need -- more pauses! Not dead air, of course, but more gaps in the whirl of daily life that establish what we should really be "clicking into." We need to slow down long enough to do some entertaining of our own. But entertaining here means more than just diversion, amusement, or hospitality; it means keeping, or holding, something in mind. How good it would be if we would constantly hold in mind the example of Christ Jesus, who knew how to pause for spiritual refreshment.
We read in the New Testament in the Bible of several occasions when Jesus went off alone to commune with God. One of those occasions is related in Matthew, chapter 14, when Jesus sent his disciples ahead of him by ship, across the Sea of Galilee. In the meantime he went to a mountain to pray. He returned walking across the water, and rescued the disciples from a storm at sea, bringing them safely into the land of Gennesaret. There his healings were more impressive than ever; Jesus healed even those who simply touched the hem of his garment.
In our search for balanced lives in which work and play, activity and stillness, blend harmoniously, the example of Jesus stands supreme. Following this example is how Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, chose to live her life. Her article called "The New Birth," in her book Miscellaneous Writings, calls upon fellow students of the Bible to "entertain a higher sense of both God and man." In this passage, Mrs. Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, explained what she meant by this "higher sense": "We must learn that God is infinitely more than a person, or finite form, can contain; that God is a divine Whole, and All, an all-pervading intelligence and Love, a divine, infinite Principle; and that Christianity is a divine Science" (p. 16).
And what of the higher sense of ourselves revealed by this divine Science? Daily study of the Bible and of Mrs. Eddy's explanatory work Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures can help anyone to see that we express the "all-pervading intelligence and Love" just mentioned. We are not merely improved human beings. We're each one God's image, or idea -- free of sin and sickness, fulfilled, always at peace.
God is the logical and reliable divine Principle, which holds its idea -- each one of us -- in a perfect bond of unity with itself. This bond cannot be strained, fragmented, or broken. In entertaining thoughts of God, as Jesus did, we find that God truly sustains and satisfies us. We feel no need to seek empty diversion when we come to know God as the source of everything that's worth having in life.
Studying Christian Science doesn't mean that we shouldn't enjoy wholesome entertainment through television, movies, concerts, magazines, sports, or computer games. But it does mean that we'll be most richly blessed, and find the greatest peace, when, as the Apostle Paul recommended to the Philippians, we fix our minds "on whatever is true and honourable and just and pure and lovely and admirable" (4:8, J. B. Phillips translation). That's worth far more than the momentary stimulation of any branch of the media. That's entertainment!
Be not forgetful
to entertain strangers:
for thereby some