by Annette Bridges. © 2007. All rights reserved.
We need only watch or read news headlines to get a depiction of humankind that is not very desirable. One that says the nature of man is dishonest, murderous, corruptible, angry, abusive and presents mankind as victimized — homeless, unemployed, suffering, sick.
So how could Mary Baker Eddy write, “. . . the majesty of Christian Science teaches the majesty of man”? Man, generically speaking — referring to both men and women — hardly appears to be very majestic, princely or noble, at least according to news reports.
To understand her meaning, I’ve had to first reacquaint myself with her explanation of the two words – “Christian Science.” Eddy wrote, “In the year 1866, I discovered the Christ Science or divine laws of Life, Truth, and Love, and named my discovery Christian Science.” And she explained, “The term Science, properly understood, refers only to the laws of God and to His government of the universe, inclusive of man.”
I certainly consider the laws of God to be majestic. The laws of God are surely more exalted and magnificent than any human opinion, fear or viewpoint. Laws of God are spiritual mandates that govern His creation. And what do these laws tell us about His creation?
Well to begin with, I believe they tell us that His creation — which includes you and me — is spiritual in nature. Christ Jesus, who referred to God as Spirit, must have meant this, too, when he said, “The kingdom of God is within you.”
And what is this spiritual nature, this kingdom of God like?
Surely it cannot be unlike God — divine Spirit, the Creator — and would include such qualities as unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness and love. How could God give us anything less?
So if God has given each of us a majestic, spiritual nature, perhaps it’s up to us to believe this, to understand this, to prove this by “letting” the kingdom of God reign within us.
Eddy gives a useful analogy that I believe helps us understand how to do just that. She describes each of us as a sculptor that is molding and chiseling thought. She says as sculptors, we turn from our marble to our model so we can perfect our conception. But she asks us to consider what model we are looking at.
Do we look at the model that news reports speak of? Or rather, do we look at the model that God sees as His perfect and good creation?
Eddy says if we want to see and experience the majesty of the man God created, we must turn our gaze toward this perfect model and look at this model continually. This, she says, is how we carve out a grand and noble life.
I learned a bit about this process some years back. I used to be told often, “You have your daddy’s temper.” And I must admit I did lose my temper at times. This would lead to slamming doors, throwing whatever was within my reach and screaming hurtful words that I later regretted.
After getting married and having a child, I wanted to change this pattern of behavior. I think I had accepted temper as a response in which I had no choice. It seemed so uncontrollable.
It was Eddy’s analogy of the sculptor that helped me understand that I did have a choice in my thoughts and actions. And she helped me see how my thoughts were determining my actions. I realized that I had accepted a model of abusive and uncontrollable temper for myself, and I was reproducing it again and again in my life.
So, according to Eddy’s sculptor analogy, I learned I needed to choose a new model — the woman God created. One who is poised, full of grace, patient, composed, just, gentle and loving. And as I have successfully focused on this better model, I’ve been able to control my temper.
I’m not saying I never ever get angry about anything. In those times, I find it helpful to try very hard to take a prayer pause before I act and examine my thoughts and actions. Asking God for direction on thoughts and actions doesn’t require a lot of time. In fact, the answer comes as quickly as I pause. And I realize a temper fit is not the appropriate response for a woman of God’s creating. I can’t remember the last time I lost my temper in an uncontrollable rage.
Even though news reports suggest otherwise, I don’t believe God leaves us at the mercy of evil to confuse and misguide us in our behavior and actions. God is surely always with us at every moment to guide us up the right path. Up the path that leads us to the majesty of man.
I think it’s up to us to choose this path!