Change was sudden, gripping, and going on all over the world following the events of Sept. 11. But change goes on in less dramatic ways all the time, as I noticed shortly before the 11th.
A friend who knows that I often commute to work on the train asked me if I had seen the change in what many of the commuters were reading these days. I said I hadn't, because I usually spent that time reading the Bible. "Glance around next time," he said, "I think you'll be surprised." I was.
Sitting across the seat from me, a woman had in her lap a small three-ring binder with notes, which she referred to as she read her Bible. Across the aisle, a man was reading his Bible. And as we arrived at the station and I got up to leave, I passed another woman who was also reading what appeared to be a Bible. Again, this was prior to the tragedy. From what I've observed since that day, this pattern of Bible reading and study has continued, and actually intensified.
The Bible - with its stories, proverbs, psalms, history, and teachings that have inspired people for thousands of years - never loses its ability to connect with everyday life. And when everyday life is shaken to its core, as it was recently, the need to connect with a reliable guide and enduring source of comfort, such as the Bible is, becomes paramount.
What have people been rediscovering lately within the pages of the Scriptures? The powerful security conveyed in the 91st Psalm, for one thing. In many of the speeches given at vigils and in the sermons of religious leaders, we were reminded of the Psalmist's conviction that God is a refuge and a fortress, and that His truth is a shield. For this reason we need not fear terror or pestilence or destruction.
One of the messages that helps me in troubling times is found a little further on in that psalm, where the author says, "For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways." No one has added as much to my understanding of angels as Mary Baker Eddy, who described them in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," as "God's thoughts passing to man" (pg. 581).
I think of the Bible as a book containing God's thoughts as inspired writers recorded them, and as one way those thoughts are passed to me and others. That's what makes Bible study inspiring and practical. As these thoughts reach deep into our lives, they keep us safe, secure, comforted, and healthy.
Mary Baker Eddy understood that. Faced with dire needs - alone, poor, and bedridden with a life-threatening injury - Mrs. Eddy turned to the Bible. From that desperate search for relief came a healing of the injury. And from the years of Bible study that followed, came her discovery of the spiritual laws that restore health and reveal a whole new sense of reality as purely spiritual.
It was this spiritual vision and its healing effect that brought Science and Health into being. Mrs. Eddy listed the following as the first tenet of Christian Science: "As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life" (pg. 497).
National Bible Week began Sunday in the United States (Nov. 18-25). As I wondered what more I could do to honor that week, I found my answer in the Bible, in the words of Psalms 46:10. The guidance is simple, straightforward, and sufficient: "Be still, and know that I am God."
That's what I'll continue to do and probably will see others doing on the train, or wherever else there is an opportunity to be still and listen, and read, and pray. Thank you, Father, for Your thoughts.
Every inspired scripture
has its use for teaching
the truth and refuting error,
or for reformation of manners
and discipline in right living.
II Timothy 3:16