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Living ‘to exemplify our risen Lord’

From the March 2016 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Everything Christ Jesus taught reflected the supremacy of God’s love for man—and he proved it by living it. His resurrection was the culminating proof for all humanity that divine Love alone is Life. There can be no better way, then, to celebrate that glorious Easter exultation “He is risen” than to strive each day to live in a way that proves what Jesus lived to prove. 

I love the way Mary Baker Eddy, in reference to Easter celebrations, made this point for members of the Church of Christ, Scientist. She wrote, “Those sacred words of our beloved Master, ‘Let the dead bury their dead,’ and ‘Follow thou me,’ appeal to daily Christian endeavors for the living whereby to exemplify our risen Lord” (Manual of The Mother Church, p. 60). To “exemplify” means to show by example. That’s what Jesus did, and that’s what he expected his followers to do.

The other night while I was reading in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mrs. Eddy, I came upon a passage that gave me some inspiration on living a life that proves the truth of what Jesus taught: “The divine image, idea, or Christ was, is, and ever will be inseparable from the divine Principle, God. Jesus referred to this unity of his spiritual identity thus: ‘Before Abraham was, I am;’ ‘I and my Father are one;’ ‘My Father is greater than I.’ The one Spirit includes all identities” (p. 333). I was very familiar with those three statements of Jesus regarding his identity as the Son of God. But it was that last sentence of Mrs. Eddy’s that jumped out at me: “The one Spirit includes all identities.” “All identities” would mean every one of God’s children—everyone.

So those three statements of Jesus, along with so much else they can teach us, have something to teach us regarding our own real, spiritual identity. Yes, Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God; but everything he taught, and everything he did, was to show us who we really are—the deeply loved sons and daughters of God, each one a unique, spiritual, perfect idea of the one Spirit, divine Love.

“Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). Jesus had told the Jews that anyone who would follow him would never die. They challenged his authority, saying he couldn’t be greater than Abraham, who was dead. But when Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I am,” in essence, he was saying, “This is who I really am, the Christ, the Truth, that exists, always has existed, and always will exist to show my followers who they are as God’s eternal ideas, who can never die.” His authority, he explained, came from God, his Father, and the Father of all. 

This Christ is ever with us to reveal that we are divine Love’s cherished, individual, eternal ideas, who have always existed, and will always exist, as God’s reflection. So, “to exemplify our risen Lord,” we can endeavor each day to yield to the eternal Christ by following Jesus’ teachings as recorded in the Bible, and by allowing Christ, Truth, to transform our thought and character to conform to our eternal identity. 

“I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). Jesus made this statement about himself when he spoke of his followers as sheep who hear and follow the voice of the Christ. He continued, saying: “I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:28, 29). Then he said, “I and my Father are one.” 

The Christ, which Jesus exemplified, is God’s impartation—the infinite, all-inclusive expression of divine Love and Life—as inseparable from God as all the sun’s rays, collectively, are inseparable from the sun. This Christ forever includes and reveals us as God’s individual, spiritual expressions, inseparable from God—as inseparable from God as individual rays are inseparable from the sun and from one another. To accept our spiritual identity as God’s own eternal expression, always at-one with Him who is Life, is to know that we can never die—that nothing can wrench us away from Life’s eternal hold on us. 

We can “exemplify our risen Lord” by cherishing our oneness with God, and by living the spiritual qualities that God is expressing in us—purity, integrity, mercy, wholeness, and so on—the qualities that make up our being as Love’s reflection.

“My Father is greater than I” (John 14:28). Jesus said this to his disciples after informing them that he would soon depart from them to return to his Father—that he would no longer be with them as an earthly personality, but that the Christ, which he represented, would always be with them. He said they should rejoice because “My Father is greater than I.” 

Because God is greater than each of us, we can do whatever we are called upon to do to “exemplify our risen Lord.” Our strength, ability, talent, all come from God, who “worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). Let’s always remember, as Jesus always did, to give God the glory in every little success we have as we strive to live a life that proves the truth of Jesus’ teachings. God is the power that heals and saves. There is no greater power. 

Let Christ lift you up as a reflection of the Love that is Life—on Easter Day and every day!

Barbara Vining

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