IN crossing the bridge which connects the passing year with a new one, the more thoughtful are apt to look back, and then forward, and this always with the hope that the new year will bring better things than has the old. If it should fail to fulfil this expectation, it would only prove that the hope had not unfolded into faith and thus laid hold upon eternal reality. In the physical realm, so called, each year is marked by some sowing and some reaping, and it is even more sure that in the mental realm seedtime and harvest will not fail, for each year will bring in happy fruition some good that was sown in days gone by, and possibly watered with tears; but these will all be forgotten when the harvest of the true and the enduring is reaped.
It is possible that some results of baleful sowing will have to be reaped, but if we are on the side of God and His angels we shall rejoice that "every plant," not a stray one here and there, but every single plant that our "heavenly Father hath not planted," will be "rooted up," and the entire field of human consciousness cleared for the full development of God's ideas. It may be that what seems some giant growth of error will have grown up in mortal history, but when Truth commands, "Cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?" we can stand still and see the salvation of God in the destruction of error, whether manifested as disease, sin, mortal tyranny, or useless mortal achievements.
Our revered Leader's definition of year as given in Science and Health (p. 598), lifts thought above a material and finite concept, up to an enlarged sense of man's divine possibilities. She begins by presenting the finite sense as "a solar measurement of time; mortality; space for repentance," and then tells us that "one moment of divine consciousness, or the spiritual understanding of Life and Love, is a foretaste of eternity," to which she adds, "This exalted view, obtained and retained when the Science of being is understood, would bridge over with life discerned spiritually the interval of death, and man would be in the full consciousness of his immortality and eternal harmony, where sin, sickness, and death are unknown." The one vital question, then, at the beginning of the year, is how much we are going to advance in "the spiritual understanding of Life and Love." The lowliest duties performed with this kept ever before thought will each day become stepping-stones "to higher things," and it should never be forgotten that all service which begins with the noble purpose of reaching perfection means much in the way of establishing the kingdom of God on earth, and that for each one of us the kingdom must begin right where we are, for, as the Master has said, it is neither "lo here!" nor "lo there!" but within our consciousness and expressed in all that reflects the one perfect Mind.
We have long been accustomed to the phrase, "the year of our Lord," but let us each become more familiar with its deep significance and help to make 1914 truly the year of our Lord in what it accomplishes for ourselves and humanity in the Christianization of the world. With this ever in view we shall, as St. John says in his first epistle, "have confidence, and not be ashamed before him [the Christ] at his coming." The world is advancing by leaps and bounds in its quest for better conditions. It is leaving behind it much that is outworn or inadequate, and it is vain and utterly useless on our part to regret this, for it was declared of old, "Thus saith the Lord of hosts; ... I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come."
Man being spiritual, the deepest desire of all men is really for spiritual things, and they can never be satisfied until these are attained. The nations are awaking from their long sleep, with its dreams of life submerged in matter and darkened by sin, suffering, and death, but the sleepers are being shaken, one by one; and although the dream shadows, "dark images of mortal thought," may linger for a little season, sooner or later they will all "flee before the light of Truth" (Science and Health, p. 418). We are bidden to "arise" and "shine" when our light comes, and thus one may dispel the darkness for another, for a hundred, for a thousand it may be, so marvelous is the radiation of Truth.
Surely there is great need of the light of Truth, for we are told in the Psalms that "the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty." Such conditions prevail wherever the light of Truth does not shine, for mortals are doomed to cruel suffering by the edict of asserted material law which many believe to be God's law. But the light has come in Christian Science, and it has been shining into the dark places ever since it shone upon the Bible for our beloved Leader and healed her by the radiance of Love divine. Now it is reaching all lands and witnessing to the ever-present God and His Christ. In the last year letters have come to us from the ancient kingdom of Burma, from Dutch Guiana, from Brazil, from far-off islands of the sea, telling of darkness dispelled, and of health and happiness attained through the study of God's message to this age, as found in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." Let us then "be glad and rejoice," and let us remember each day that the new year must be to us the year of our Lord, Truth making all things new. Shall we dare to doubt the promise, "Surely I come quickly"? Shall we not rather keep our lights burning, as the Master bade us, and we ourselves be "like unto men that wait for their lord"?