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Peace and healing ‘in the presence of mine enemies’

From the March 2018 issue of The Christian Science Journal


One morning I woke up with a new sense of the importance of the twenty-third Psalm ringing in my ears—especially the line where the Psalmist states that the Lord prepares a table before him in the presence of his enemies. I thought a lot about the entire Psalm that day. It occurred to me that God creates and maintains His universe by divine law, no matter what the threat appears to be—whether a belief of sickness, sin, lack, an uninformed and ignorant hatred, or a seemingly deliberate, organized evil. The twenty-third Psalm elucidates this operation of divine law with beautiful images of intelligence, tenderness, and love, which everyone can identify with. These qualities are ever present, precede the so-called existence and power of evil, and therefore deny evil any presence or reality in Truth’s already created universe. 

Mary Baker Eddy saw the great value of our mental insistence of the truth in this Psalm and placed it right in the textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, in the chapter called “The Apocalypse,” where she spells out the inevitable end of all error—the suppositional enemy of divine Truth—by giving a spiritual explanation of some chapters of Revelation. 

At the end of that particular chapter of Science and Health, she wrote: “In the following Psalm one word shows, though faintly, the light which Christian Science throws on the Scriptures by substituting for the corporeal sense, the incorporeal or spiritual sense of Deity: —

“PSALM XXIII

“[Divine love] is my shepherd; I shall not want.

“[Love] maketh me to lie down in green pastures: [love] leadeth me beside the still waters.

“[Love] restoreth my soul [spiritual sense]: [love] leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for [love] is with me; [love’s] rod and [love’s] staff they comfort me.

“[Love] prepareth a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: [Love] anointeth my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house [the consciousness] of [love] for ever” (pp. 577–578). 

All the way through this Psalm divine Love is shown as the one and only cause, which produces only one effect—goodness—and which is present no matter what may appear to loom in its place. Indeed everything inharmonious that we hear, see, or feel can be reversed to find the message of God. Mrs. Eddy puts it this way: “Thought is borrowed from a higher source than matter, and by reversal, errors serve as waymarks to the one Mind, in which all error disappears in celestial Truth” (Science and Health, p. 267).

I have continued to let this conviction of divine Love being the one true cause ring loudly in my thought whenever I am tempted to believe in the simultaneous existence of an evil power. And I’ve begun to recognize more fully the sweet promise of God’s goodness and care contained within this loved Psalm as the higher spiritual law, operating exactly where the racket of divisiveness, hatred, sickness, and terrorism claims to threaten peace.

Everything inharmonious that we hear, see, or feel can be reversed to find the message of God.

Sometimes we may feel as though we live in a world that is merely a venue for vitriol, hatred, and violence; sin, sickness, and death. But since when does material evidence supporting a lie as true make it true? Does evidence of the sun appearing to orbit the earth make scientists deny the fact that the earth instead orbits the sun? Does the appearance of water on a hot road make the savvy driver’s car swerve?

Christ Jesus not only brought the infallible truth of spiritual being to our attention, he demonstrated it for the world right in the presence of its so-called enemies through his healing work. The appearance of the Christ-idea in the healing ministry of Jesus made manifestations of the lie of sin, sickness, and death quite literally disappear to the people his thought addressed and healed; and material so-called law was proved unrelated to reality and therefore unreal.  

Christian Science joins with Christ Jesus in proclaiming and demonstrating the absolute and undeniable ability of eternal Truth to keep us safe, thriving, and at peace. And the twenty-third Psalm is overflowing with the activity of divine Principle, Love, on behalf of its idea, man. It avows that good permeates totality and precedes and dissolves all the lies that claim to be. Since God is love, as the Bible asserts (see I John 4:8), Love’s activity in our lives must be of the greatest importance to us. And it’s vital to recognize that man (the true identity of each of us) is the very expression of Love. We have a right to experience the safety, stability, and comfort described by the inspired Psalmist—in our home, workplace, school, and community.  

There was a time when I felt trapped and terrorized by the threat of a debilitating disease involving my joints and muscles. My father had been severely restricted by it, and I had been experiencing the same worsening symptoms for almost ten years, to the point where every step was a test of painful endurance. As a result of constant sincere prayer, my thought began to take on a more unselfish tone, and opportunities to help others through prayer presented themselves. Much to my delight, God’s tender care for His creation became more evident to my thought. The “green pastures” and “still waters” of spiritual intuition and faith became springboards for demonstrating the sovereignty of spiritual reality right here, and many other healings were witnessed. 

Still, there didn’t seem to be any specific relief in the physical condition until one day an opportunity arose to help a young girl realize her dream of climbing a mountain with a youth group at summer camp. I hesitated to accompany the group, but turning away from the arguments of limitation and listening for an answer from Truth brought a sense of tranquil confidence. I had been learning that I never need to fear evil, because Love is with each of us always, preparing a table right in the presence of our enemy. That enemy was not a physical condition, but merely a belief, the belief that there was an enemy to oppose God’s deliberate goodness—another supposed power that could hinder the Almighty from expressing His own love through and as His creation. 

I stayed close to this inspiration and got mentally very quiet to hear God’s guidance during that very difficult hike. The little camper I accompanied let her prayer find expression in unhindered joy. This brought to me a sense of utter peace right where a litany of pain seemed indelibly written in the stone of my life. That evening and the next morning there wasn’t a trace of the symptoms nor any pain or soreness. My little companion didn’t experience any soreness from the hike either. That was the end of the problem for me. That healing took place over nine years ago, and I have been totally painless and free from that claim since that time.

Christian Science sheds the light on us that brings about these kinds of healing experiences, which are happening all the time. It invites the sincere seeker to acknowledge and cultivate in thought an understanding of and reliance on higher laws than supposed material laws. Laws that proceed from divine Principle can have no opposition and therefore no enemy. It invites us to “… learn of the real and eternal, and prepare for the reign of Spirit, the kingdom of heaven,—the reign and rule of universal harmony, which cannot be lost nor remain forever unseen” (Science and Health, p. 208). What an irresistible summons and a freeing outcome!

It is the purpose of divine Love to resurrect the
understanding, and the kingdom of God,
the reign of harmony already within us.
Through the word that is spoken unto you,
are you made free. 
Mary Baker Eddy
Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 154

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