Responding to the Light

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

Do you know the story of the little sunbeam? I don't know where it originated, but I like it a lot.

There may be variations, but it goes something like this: A little sunbeam was always happy, flitting and dancing across the meadow. But down at the bottom of that meadow was a grumpy dark hole. This hole didn't think there was anything to sing or laugh about. It was miserable and nasty. Didn't anyone understand what it had to put up with? Life was dark and lonely where the hole was. And as for that little sunbeam-well, it's annoying when someone is always so happy. Why should the sunbeam have all the fun?

One day the dark hole decided to ask the sunbeam to come down where it was. "We'll see how happy it is then," the hole thought. So it called, "It's so dark and miserable, why don't you come down here with me?" "All right," said the sunbeam. And it darted down to where the dark hole was. "Hello," it said merrily, "Here I am . . . where's the dark?"

It is wonderful the way light dispels darkness. And there is absolutely nothing that darkness can do about this; it just disappears. Darkness isn't anything, really, except a lack of light.

Mentally speaking, darkness is ignorance of truth. Once light is thrown onto a dark situation, everything changes. Like the dark hole, people may resist, even hate, the light of truth. But it is inevitable that the light, like the sunbeam, is eventually found to be irresistible. And once light does get in, darkness vanishes.

In 1866, Mary Baker Eddy's discovery of Christian Science brought to this age the lost light of spiritual healing as it was practiced by Jesus. This is now being greeted with more honest appraisal in many countries. More and more, people are examining healing as a mental force rather than just a physical one.

Christian Science reveals one all-powerful and omnipotent God-a loving Father and Mother. The true nature of each one of us is shown to be spiritual, healthy, and whole, inseparable from the one perfect God. We each have, through God, a harmonious relationship to one another.

Christ Jesus told his followers that he was "the light of the world." He said, "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12). One of the Biblical names for God that Christian Science employs is Truth. The activity of Truth is twofold. It both exposes and destroys evil. Whatever its particular form, evil thrives only in darkness, ignorance, error. Think of how subterranean caverns house spectacular stalagmites and stalactites. Until someone reaches into a cave with a humble torch or flashlight, the world is ignorant of a cave's marvels. But light instantly transforms the scene. Beauty replaces what had forever before been dense blackness.

Jesus was an illumination of, a transparency for, the healing light of Truth. He reflected God, whom the Bible calls "the Father of lights" (James 1:17). All who understand and follow the teaching of Jesus reflect in some degree the healing power of God. A painting by William Holman Hunt called "The Light of the World" depicts Jesus holding a lamp and knocking for admission outside a closed door. One wonders: will anyone answer his call?

The childlike, innocent thought is most often listening for the message of Christ and most readily responds. So to those tired of ineffectual, material, ways and means, and those in search of spiritual facts, are ready. Mrs. Eddy's book Miscellaneous Writings says, "That individual is the best healer who asserts himself the least, and thus becomes a transparency for the divine Mind, who is the only physician; the divine Mind is the scientific healer" (p. 59). Here the divine Mind is, like Truth, a name for God.

Through God, disease held no apparent fear for Jesus. He reflected the light of God wherever he went, bringing healing solutions to whatever human problem he faced. He even overcame death. Knowing that God is ever present and that we are all God's children, Jesus was able to say to all of us, through all time, "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).

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