IN the twenty-first chapter of St. John's Gospel is an account of one of the most beautiful incidents in the earthly experience of our Master—his last breakfast with his disciples in the early morning on the shore of the Galilean Sea. The disciples had evidently failed to realize the import of the crucifixion and the resurrection. Both Mark and Luke record that they continued to question the report that Jesus had indeed risen from the grave. With thoughts turned inward rather than outward and upward, the disciples became confused and discouraged, and John tells us that, at Peter's suggestion, they returned to their fishing. We read that they fished all night and caught nothing. After glimpsing the saving Principle manifested by the Christ, they could not profit by returning to material methods of working out their problems.
The record informs us that Jesus was standing on the shore, yet the disciples did not recognize him. The mystification of thought which results from a material sense of things hides the true view from us. The disciples' thoughts at this time were heavy and sorrowful. No wonder that they did not recognize the exalted, spiritual sense of being of which Jesus was more fully conscious after the resurrection! But the Master roused them from their dullness and unbelief, and gently led them from the material sense of things to the spiritual, turning their thoughts from the contemplation of material methods to the realization of Truth's ever-present, abundant supply.
"Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find." It was the beloved John who first recognized the spiritual authority in this counsel. He it was who identified the evidence of instantaneous supply with the Christ. When the disciples reached the shore, they found breakfast awaiting them. Jesus had not needed their draught of fish—their evidence of supply—in order to feed them. This experience served to open their thoughts to the scientific fact that their supply was wherever they were, awaiting only their recognition of its ever-presence, because of God's ever-presence. Today, as then, the Christ-message to each one is, "Come and dine." Come, with uplifted thoughts, into the realization and understanding of ever-present, abundant supply. Come, and partake of that spiritual repast, that refreshment of spiritual ideas, which will feed and clothe you throughout all eternity.
On pages 34 and 35 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," under the marginal heading "The last breakfast," our beloved Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, describes this meeting between Jesus and his disciples. A great glow of spiritual effulgence must have flooded her consciousness that she could write: "What a contrast between our Lord's last supper and his last spiritual breakfast with his disciples in the bright morning hours at the joyful meeting on the shore of the Galilean Sea! His gloom had passed into glory, and his disciples' grief into repentance,—hearts chastened and pride rebuked. Convinced of the fruitlessness of their toil in the dark and wakened by their Master's voice, they changed their methods, turned away from material things, and cast their net on the right side. Discerning Christ, Truth, anew on the shore of time, they were enabled to rise somewhat from mortal sensuousness, or the burial of mind in matter, into newness of life as Spirit. This spiritual meeting with our Lord in the dawn of a new light is the morning meal which Christian Scientists commemorate."
The Christian Scientist may well ponder the spiritual significance of this morning meal. A new sense of inspiration came to the thought of one student when it unfolded to her that her early morning study of the Lesson-Sermon from the Christian Science Quarterly could be her individual commemoration in some degree of that spiritual breakfast. The impersonal, healing Christ, the light of Truth, is our host at this breakfast; the Word of God is our infinite supply; the spiritual ideas which we imbibe nourish and sustain us; our companions are those faithful, loving disciples of Truth everywhere. Like ourselves, "they bow before Christ, Truth, to receive more of his reappearing and silently to commune with the divine Principle, Love" (ibid., p. 35).
There are no uninvited guests at this spiritual breakfast—no mental intruders, no aggressive mental suggestions of fear, apprehension, depression, lack, sorrow, pain, or confusion. There is no absence of Mind, no absent-mindedness, that can claim a presence at this feast of divine Truth and Love. The recognition of the ever-presence of intelligence, alertness, and awareness dispels everything unlike these qualities, for they are qualities of Mind, and hence are irresistible. The law of Soul reverses all suggestions of material sense with the spiritual sense of whatever mortal mind would claim to project. As we thus establish ourselves in Spirit, our atmosphere of thought corresponds to light, not darkness; to intelligence, not ignorance. Reflecting Love, not hate, we find that we are not only listening for right ideas, but also hearing them. These ideas banish the illusions of mortal sense which sometimes claim to be present in human consciousness. As we continually turn toward the light or intelligence of divine Mind, we find that there are no dark images of mortal thought, no lurking shadows, in our day. The light of this spiritual atmosphere dissipates without effort the darkness of mortal belief as the sunlight dispels the shadows of night. Such atmosphere of thought embraces and blesses all who come within the radius of our thought.
A young parachutist asked a Christian Science practitioner to show him how he could understandingly depend on God when in a tight spot. This young man was leaving the next day for the European theater of war, which at that time was very active. The practitioner turned quickly to divine Mind for an answer, and found herself saying to him: "Your true environment is always from within you, never from without, for it is your spiritual atmosphere of thought; it is your oneness with divine Mind. No matter where you go, you take this atmosphere, or environment, with you. Nothing dangerous, destructive, or discordant can enter this environment. You are not going into someone else's environment; you are moving in your own. Just as the earth, in its journey around the sun, takes its atmosphere with it, so you, no matter where you go, take with you your spiritual atmosphere of thought, your consciousness of God's presence and your oneness therewith." She further added, "In just the same way that the sunlight swallows up a shadow, and there is nothing left to identify the place where the shadow seemed to be, just so does the true idea of Life swallow up the belief in death, danger, fear, and the like."
It was several weeks before any word was received from the soldier, but the practitioner knew where he was and what his unit was doing. When his letter was finally delivered to her, it indicated his close adherence to the words which Mind had spoken to him through his friend.
The letter read: "By now I suppose you've read and heard all about our experiences in Bastogne. While to mortal sense it was a most rigorous experience, yet during the course of these past few weeks of war in its most destructive character, I've progressed a lot in my study and application of Christian Science. As things worked out, I've always had some time each day to study the Lesson from the Bible and Science and Health. Needless to say, Love continues to surround its perfect idea, man, and nothing destructive or discordant can enter the environment of Love's creating, where man dwells in perfect and infinite harmony. These truths are still sustaining me in the performance of my daily duties. I look forward to seeing you before many months pass, for we all know that this discord will soon be swallowed up in the divine harmony."
The war ended a few months later. After a short time, this young man was returned to the United States, and again took up his college work, which had been interrupted by his entry into the service. This year he attended the Annual Meeting of The Mother Church, and it was then learned that his spiritual atmosphere of thought had also embraced and blessed all those who served under him, and had acted as a defense against the elements of fear, danger, and destruction which seemed to surround them most of the time.
At times material things or duties may seem much more urgent than the study of the Lesson-Sermon. We may be tempted to rush out in the morning without this spiritual nourishment or refreshment. Inasmuch as our life is in our thoughts, it is foolish to neglect the nourishment which our consciousness requires. If we feed it with breakfast table disputes, with the screaming headlines of the morning papers, with gossip and idle speculation, fear, or limitation, we cannot expect that consciousness later to delineate harmony, peace, and intelligent action. But if we feed human consciousness with spiritual ideas, these ideas will lead to wise, alert, and discreet action, and will deliver us from mistakes, fears, limitations, unhappiness, and confusion, which otherwise might claim a place in our day.
Mrs. Eddy considered the Lesson-Sermon of such great importance that she wrote of it in the Manual of The Mother Church (Art. Ill, Sect.1) as "a lesson on which the prosperity of Christian Science largely depends." The By-Law requires first of all that "the Readers of The Mother Church and of all its branch churches must devote a suitable portion of their time to preparation for the reading of the Sunday lesson,—a lesson on which the prosperity of Christian Science largely depends." If the prosperity of Christian Science depends largely on this Lesson, certainly the prosperity of individual Christian Scientists depends to a great extent on the daily study of this Lesson, and it is vital to our well-being that our study be not neglected. It is indeed a morning meal, well prepared and lovingly given to all who heed the invitation, "Come and dine"; a meal which nourishes and strengthens us, thereby establishing in consciousness the realization of the allness and oneness of divine Mind and the powerlessness and nothingness of the belief in many minds.
Like the disciples, we too may have been tempted to return to methods outgrown, and in so doing we may have struggled through a long night of confusion, ignorance, depression, fear, loneliness, or pain, looking to matter instead of to Spirit for the right answer to some problem. Even though our methods may have been wrong, if our motives have been right and if we have diligently endeavored to be obedient to the demands of divine Principle, Love will lead us to the shore of Truth, to the dawn of a new light, to the recognition of the Christ, saying today as of old: "Children, have ye any meat? . . . Cast the net on the right side of the ship." Change your methods and turn away from material things. Cast your net on the side of spirituality, seek right thoughts, and rest from material methods. As we heed this message and follow the leadings of Love, we too come to the shore of spiritual understanding, and find our supply, our food—the specific ideas we need—already at hand, revealed by the morning light of spiritual inspiration.
Interested in more more Journal content?
Subscribe to JSH-Online to access The Christian Science Journal, along with the Christian Science Sentinel and The Herald of Christian Science. Get unlimited access to current issues, the searchable archive, podcasts, audio for issues, biographies about Mary Baker Eddy, and more. Already a subscriber? Log in