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What’s vague and what’s brilliantly clear

From the March 2020 issue of The Christian Science Journal


We prefer precision. We want to know what time our plane flight takes off, the location of our next meeting, who our next schoolteacher will be. We demand that engineers and architects design vehicles and buildings that adhere to strict safety standards, and we expect our financial professionals to be accurate, to the penny, in transactions. 

So being vague is the opposite of all this exactness. The American Heritage College Dictionary describes vague as “lacking definite shape, form, or character” or “indistinctly felt, perceived, understood, or recalled”; Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language has “wandering; vagrant; vagabond” or “unsettled; unfixed; undetermined; indefinite.” When we say someone or something is vague, we often mean there is a lack of knowledge conveyed, or even an attempt at deception.

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy uses the word vague in a very compelling, even surprising, way. She writes: “Sickness, sin, and death are the vague realities of human conclusions. Life, Truth, and Love are the realities of divine Science. They dawn in faith and glow full-orbed in spiritual understanding. As a cloud hides the sun it cannot extinguish, so false belief silences for a while the voice of immutable harmony, but false belief cannot destroy Science armed with faith, hope, and fruition” (pp. 297–298). In that passage she draws the distinction between all the trappings of mortality—a material existence that is commonly accepted as undeniable fact—and the reality of existence as actually spiritual and immortal. 

Here’s one way to distinguish between what’s vague and what’s actually true and crystal clear to spiritual sense. We are familiar with how mist or fog obscures our vision, preventing us from seeing what’s truly there. A heavy mist can even hide an enormous mountain from our view. The mountain exists, but the lack of visual evidence would make us falsely conclude otherwise. The reality of the mountain’s presence is independent of our temporary inability to see it. Life, Truth, and Love—synonyms for God given in Science and Health—are substantive, and present, even as we are yearning to see peace and health. Often the best defense is to pray that we cannot be made to disavow our true spiritual nature; we cannot be blinded from seeing what’s actually real and true even if it’s not perceptible to us through the material senses. 

The messages that emanate from Mind reveal the actual spiritual nature of man and the universe.

How can we more consistently recognize and feel the effect of Life, Truth, and Love and bring healing to human experience? Sickness, sin, and death certainly can appear and feel very real to humanity, but Christian Science makes clear that their perpetuation is wholly dependent on the testimony of the material senses—testimony that is deceptive and inconclusive.  

When we turn our thought away from the often relentless input of the physical senses and open our consciousness to spiritual sense, we discern the angel messages that come to us from God, divine Mind. The messages that emanate from this Mind reveal the actual spiritual nature of man and the universe, the divine creation that is wholly good. Holding this concept firmly in our thought as the reality of our being brings a powerful recognition of harmony that shapes our lives. The ills of humanity are then correctly perceived not as inevitable realities inflicted upon us, but as erroneous conclusions based on false evidence, the misty testimony of material sense.

The opposite of vague is definite, certain, well-defined, or in focus. Focus brings things into clear relief, so we know exactly what is actual, and nothing remains hidden from us. When we use a microscope or a telescope, things very small or very far away can be examined with clarity, and thus seen as they truly are. In a similar fashion, we can maintain in thought a crystal-clear view of our true spiritual nature as God’s creation to the exclusion of all else. 

Christ Jesus healed countless ills, including raising people from the dead. As the Son of God, he had an unparalleled understanding of God’s infinite love for man and His omnipotent power over evil. As we lean on the timeless Christ, spiritual understanding is available to us today, and even a small glimpse of its truth ushers in healing.

There is nothing vague or deceptive in spiritual sense, and we can confidently trust in the reality of divine Life, Truth, and Love as revealed by this sense. Each day we can defend our consciousness and protect ourselves by carefully placing our trust in that which we know to be true, dependable, and brilliantly clear—God.

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