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Defense from vulnerability

From the November 2019 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Sometimes it seems that human experience is one of constant vulnerability. The headlines in the news certainly support this belief. In our own lives it might feel as though we’re daily confronted with the suggestion that we are vulnerable beings. Is it possible to feel confident that our health, well-being, and security are fixed, not susceptible to attack?

Christian Science helps us gain a deep spiritual understanding of our safety in God. It begins with the acknowledgment of the total allness of God, who is the timeless, limitless Divine Being that is infinite Spirit. This unseen, yet deeply felt all-powerful force is divine Love, which is reflected by spiritual man. And this man of God’s creating is not the commonly held concept of man as a mortal, material being, but is the image and likeness of divine Spirit. This is the true identity of each of us.

This spiritual truth of the unbroken relation of God and man may seem difficult to grasp. Mortal consciousness, unaware of spiritual reality, clings to its perception of a matter-based reality and resists the truths of man’s real spiritual nature. This reluctance and resistance to understanding one’s spiritual nature leaves one feeling outside of God’s care, which induces a fear that the harmony of one’s well-being is at the mercy of an unpredictable existence.

Yet instead of turning to God for release from this fear, many look for peace and reassurance in other directions, such as in positive thinking, meditation, exercise, and other practices that promise to pacify the anxieties that come with a mortal sense of existence. Countless books, seminars, podcasts, presenting well-intentioned advice, offer ways to subdue this fear.

Christ Jesus once explained to his disciples: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep” (John 10:11–13, New International Version). Here the hireling could be seen as representing those attempts and methods of the human mind to guard against the fear of reoccurring evil and the limitations this fear brings. There might be the best of intentions behind the sharing of these practices, and for a while some of them may seem to do a good job of “guarding the sheep.” But when severe challenges come, are they found to be effective? Or like the hireling, do they essentially “flee,” providing no security?

The Christ gently, persistently, powerfully reminds each of us that man is the full reflection of God, without delay or momentary absence.

The hireling runs when confronted with danger because he has no vested interest in the sheep, and they momentarily become vulnerable to harm. But the Christ has a vested interest because the sheep are his own. The shepherd, who owns each of his sheep, is always available to meet the challenge. The Christ, which Jesus wholly represented, expresses the spiritual nature of God and shepherds us by speaking God’s message to individual human consciousness. Christ is an ever-present divine influence impelling us to acknowledge that our spiritual being can never be without God and God can never be without His expression. The Christ gently, persistently, powerfully reminds each of us that man is the full reflection of God, without delay or momentary absence. 

There can be no gap in this eternally reflected relationship; no partial reflection, semi-reflection, or occasional reflection. The sun’s rays aren’t half warm or the ocean’s drops of water half wet. Mary Baker Eddy writes in her main work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “The divine Science of man is woven into one web of consistency without seam or rent” (p. 242). Affirming our unbreakable relation to divine Love enables us to consistently defend ourselves from fear that we are vulnerable to danger. Divine Love repairs the tear of schism-creating fear and restores us to our native seamless being.

Jesus’ parable has been compelling me to strive consistently to acknowledge that the Christ is always present and that feelings of vulnerability have no place in consciousness. This has brought me a more conscious sense of peace and safety in everything I do. Divine Truth is the Shepherd that guards our thought and our lives, leaving us susceptible only to Love’s goodness and protection.

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