I chose a Bible verse from the Christmas story for our church's sign: "Unto you is born this day ... a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:11)
I loved this verse and had picked it for the sign because it says that we all have a Savior, and so we are never alone no matter what we have to face. And it made me grateful to God for His great love that sent us Christ.
Fast forward a couple of days later to the store where I was having the sign printed. I was irritated when the clerk told me that there was going to be a delay. "Why didn't they call to let me know?" I asked. And then I heard a voice within that said: "Repent; change your attitude. Drop your frustration and express the Christ spirit." And so I did; I immediately calmed down. I realized I could be patient and understanding, even loving. The irritation melted away. Almost immediately another clerk came up to me and offered to do the work right away.
How ironic, I thought, that I could be working on a sign focusing on Christ and then in my desire to finish the sign, forget the main event: honoring Christ by being willing to express more of the love that characterized the life of Jesus. But so often the human mind focuses on the wrong thing. It argues that we have to plow ahead with our own plans, our own agenda. And when we do that, we often forget about the love and good that are present right where we are that moment.
Before this experience I had been thinking about a sentence from "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," the book written by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science and the founder of this newspaper. The author wrote: "What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds" (page 4). What we most need - that's pretty definitive.
I thought about how the chapter "Christian Science Practice" also opens with a commentary about Mary, who washed Jesus' feet with her tears, wiping them with her hair (see Luke 7:36-50). She was known as a "sinner," but instead of rebuking her, Jesus told Simon the Pharisee how Mary had done for him what Simon, his host, hadn't done. When he entered Simon's house Jesus said, "Thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet." Then Jesus said: "Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much."
Mrs. Eddy points out that the genuine repentance, meekness, and human affection, as expressed by Mary, is what we should be emulating - not the miserly hospitality of the Pharisee. That's because it is the Christ spirit, the love, that draws us closer to God, divine Love, and helps us be better individuals and healers (see Science and Health, page 364).
Later that same day, while out doing more errands, I started to feel sick. At first I became irritated because I had recently just gotten over an illness, and it frustrated me to think I was going to be sick again. I prayed for an answer. What came to mind: Express more patience, meekness, love, and good deeds. At first I didn't understand how this was relevant to my not feeling well. But then it started to make sense.
I realized that I could refuse to be frustrated or irritated. I turned away from worrying about being sick and instead focused wholeheartedly on expressing more patience, meekness, love, and good deeds right that moment. My thinking changed. I actually started feeling more patient and loving. I was so involved in thinking about how I could love more that the fear of being sick dissolved. Within half an hour all the physical symptoms were gone, and I was completely well.
The Christ spirit - that patient love of God that each of us as His children reflect - is a power that brings harmony to relationships as well as healing to the body.
The vital part,
the heart and soul
of Christian Science, is Love.
Mary Baker Eddy