It was midmorning when we saddled the horses. Spread out before us like a hand-stitched tapestry was this pristine valley, hidden away at the foot of the Colorado Rockies. The sky was blue on more blue. The aspens, yellow gold in the autumn sunshine. The boulder-guarded stream, crystal clear, meandering purposefully across the landscape. The mountains, majestic, rugged, but at play with the sunlight as it bounced from peak to peak.
The horses were eager. We rode carefully for a distance, picking our way along the rocky path at streamside, then cantered across a meadow, and finally pulled the horses up, stopping for a few moments on a rise where we could look back across the entire valley. Beautiful. Wonderful. Exactly that - full of beauty, full of wonder.
John Muir once wrote: "God's love covers all the earth as the sky covers it, and fills it in every pore. And this love has voices heard by all who have ears to hear."
In that morning - a perfect morning in the heart of the Rocky Mountains - it was easy to feel that everything was embraced in God's grace. Consider, though, what Muir had also written in the sentence preceding his observation about God's widespread love. "No wilderness in the world," he claimed, "is so desolate as to be without divine ministers." Could that possibly be true? No wilderness so desolate?
What about the wilderness that a homeless family faces on the streets? What about the wilderness a man in his middle years confronts when his job is unexpectedly made redundant? What about the wilderness for a woman who is suddenly forced to raise her children on her own because her husband has walked out?
What about that kind of desolation? Are God's divine ministers even there? Is His love covering even those lives? Yes. And as John Muir wrote, the voices of this love are heard when we have "ears to hear." Then, no matter what the human condition, we discover God's unfailing, healing presence.
The Holy Bible points us to those "ears to hear," those spiritual senses - the true hearing, or comprehension, and the true seeing, or perception - that reveal divine reality. Through spiritual sense, Christ Jesus knew profoundly the saving power of God, the omnipotence of infinite Love. He taught this to his followers and demonstrated it through healing desperate cases of sickness and sin. Once when he was teaching the people, his disciples asked him why he used parables. Jesus answered that the people's "ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed." He observed that if they would "see" and "hear," if they would "understand" and "be converted," they would be healed. Then he told his disciples, "But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear" (Matt. 13:15, 16).
How can we, too, find the blessing of such "seeing" and "hearing"? In this way: As we let go of human will and humble ourselves before God. As we pray with all our heart. As we look to God alone as the sustainer of our life. As we listen to God alone, the all-knowing Mind, who is already providing us with every right idea we need in order to meet any challenge, to overcome any desolation.
"Spiritual sense is the discernment of spiritual good," wrote the founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 505). That discernment is inherent in each of us as God's child, His spiritual reflection.
You do have "ears to hear" the voices of God's love, to discern spiritual good, to realize the healing presence of "divine ministers" - the clear ideas and intuitions of Truth - in any wilderness.
Mrs. Eddy knew this from her own experience. In 1899, in "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" (pgs. 149-150), she wrote: "Remember, thou canst be brought into no condition, be it ever so severe, where Love has not been before thee and where its tender lesson is not awaiting thee. Therefore despair not nor murmur, for that which seeketh to save, to heal, and to deliver, will guide thee, if thou seekest this guidance."
You can visit the home page of The First Church of Christ, Scientist: www.tfccs.com