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The kingdom of heaven—here and now

From the May 2018 issue of The Christian Science Journal

For ages mankind has endeavored to discover what is real, lasting, and meaningful in life. This has involved a lot of soul-searching and sometimes looking in all the wrong places. 

Despite the challenges, anyone can be assured that fulfillment and equanimity are possible because there is a perfect role model, Christ Jesus, who experienced and taught exactly what constitutes a real, lasting, and meaningful life. And he articulated a prayer called the Lord’s Prayer, in which he points to the same reality being available to all of us: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). This indicates that genuine peace of mind, which comes from knowing God, can be experienced here and now. That leads to the question—What does anyone have to know or do to experience that state of being?

Insight about this reality and our true nature is offered in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, written by the Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. Quoting the Scriptures, she says: “In the Gospel of John, it is declared that all things were made through the Word of God, ‘and without Him [the logos, or word] was not anything made that was made.’ Everything good or worthy, God made. Whatever is valueless or baneful, He did not make,—hence its unreality. In the Science of Genesis we read that He saw everything which He had made, ‘and, behold, it was very good’ ” (p. 525). This indicates that God’s creation (which includes all of us) always has been and always will remain good, and Science and Health explains that it is spiritual and eternal, since God is Spirit and eternal. Since we live in God and express God, we cannot also be limited, flawed, and fearful mortals.

These ideas might be hard to understand at first and seem contrary to our experiences, but it’s promised in the Bible that if we do His will and search for truth, we will find it. Seeking and searching is the key, however, because enlightenment requires striving. Through dedicated prayer, study, and application of the Scriptures—and by studying Mrs. Eddy’s explication of the Bible—bit by bit, reality based on spiritual truths makes more sense, is better understood, and becomes increasingly apparent in our daily lives. The fruit of our effort is a growing understanding that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. We realize we do not have to be subject to the ways or whims of the world; instead we are aware of God’s goodness and love, and we find that needs are met, healings occur, and peace is found—all evidence of heaven here and now.

More than two years ago I found it necessary to apply these truths in overcoming a physical challenge. Over a period of weeks, I noticed the vision of one eye becoming increasingly blurred, and I had “double vision.” I covered that eye to see clearly, to read, or to watch television. I avoided looking at the eye because I was praying to see myself as God’s perfect, spiritual child, and I knew that purposely looking for material evidence to the contrary wouldn’t help, but one day I inadvertently noticed my eye didn’t appear normal. When driving became difficult, I realized I had to take a firm stand and maintain what I knew to be true of me as God’s likeness. I had to claim my spiritual identity and oneness with God and not accept a false and flawed view of myself. I also called a Christian Science practitioner for treatment through prayer, and also inspiration.

This passage from the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health, was helpful: “Sight, hearing, all the spiritual senses of man, are eternal. They cannot be lost. Their reality and immortality are in Spirit and understanding, not in matter,—hence their permanence” (p. 486). I thought about the people healed of blindness when Christ Jesus affirmed their spiritual nature and perfection as God’s beloved children. I realized that since my true being is the likeness of God and actually in God, I can really only see what He sees—all of His creation as perfect and true. In about two days, I no longer had to cover my eye to see clearly, the double vision was gone, and the appearance of my eye was normal. Since God never loses clarity, neither could I, and thus, a bit of heaven on earth—what is spiritually true—was manifested.

Our perception of life is changed when we see through God’s eyes—see the perfection He is constantly showing us. When faced with challenges on a personal or a worldwide level, we know that since they cannot adversely affect God, they cannot, in truth, adversely affect anyone; spiritually speaking, we remain undisturbed. We can find great comfort in that truth as we pray for ourselves or others. When we affirm that our being is actually in Spirit, we see discord as an illusion and don’t get so upset or worried. We realize it’s God’s nature to always maintain our well-being; fear is replaced by trust, comfort, and calm.

There is, indeed, more to life than meets the mortal eye; there’s a reality that existed long before the Bible was recorded—the eternal kingdom of heaven that Jesus so clearly saw, taught, and demonstrated through his understanding of divine Truth. The more any of us understands Truth and lives in accord with it, the more obvious it is that we must dismiss the false beliefs that once seemed so real in order to demonstrate that equanimity and oneness with God is our natural and abiding state of being.

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