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The not-so-lost art of grace

From the November 2019 issue of The Christian Science Journal


I’d been traveling for work for ten years. Going to airports was second nature. But I should have been more diligent about checking email for my flight. After all, I hadn’t taken this airline before. I wasn’t familiar with their check-in procedures. So when I went to get a taxi and there weren’t any, and the relaxed culture of the country I was in meant that I might, or might not, get a taxi in the next thirty minutes, I felt a little panicked. Having just learned about the airline’s strict check-in deadline, I could see I wasn’t going to make it. And I was in charge of an event later that afternoon in the destination country. 

Standing at the counter listening to the supervisor refusing for the third time to let me on the flight, I felt a surge of regret. It had been my fault. I should have planned ahead better. 

But this was not a useful line of thinking. 

I had nothing left to lean on but what I’d been praying. I’d asked to talk to everyone I could. I’d explained how important it was I get there. I’d explored other possibilities for flights. But in this small island nation, there weren’t any. I wasn’t getting on a flight any time soon. 

I thought about the account in Scripture of a blind man calling out to Christ Jesus for healing from the side of the road, amidst a crowd of shouting people (see Mark 10:46–52). The Bible says Jesus “stood still.” The Christ-power, the consciousness of God’s ever-presence shown to us by Jesus, responds to chaos and disorder with stillness. Being still, we can feel this power for ourselves. Jesus illustrated the oneness of God and man in these words: “By myself I can do nothing.… I do not live to please myself but to do the will of the Father who sent me” (John 5:30, J. B. Phillips, The New Testament in Modern English).

This unity of us with God provides a foundation for grace. Grace is a divine influence that gives us strength, even during trials. This divine influence is “ever present in human consciousness” (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. xi). It is included in our true, God-reflected nature. Its blessing is unearned, an unmerited favor. Grace comes from the unchecked continuity of God’s love—even if we make a mistake. When we experience grace, we are experiencing the effect of understanding God. Our ego and our own will are put aside to let God’s grace—the feeling of divine Love—work in us. 

Grace points to a divine reality: the fact that because the divine presence of God fills all space in consciousness, limited, restricted views of life based in materialism have to yield. This brings hope, goodness, and love into our lived experience and lets us meet challenges without intensity or willfulness. 

In the world today, when driven primarily by ego, we can come to believe we don’t need any divine influence on our lives to make them run smoothly. After all, solving problems can sometimes be as easy as speaking into a mobile phone to request information or typing into a search bar to find the answer to an issue preoccupying thought. 

But with so much information readily at hand, do we overlook the effect of grace seen in daily life? And what about when we face a problem not readily solvable, or which seems unsolvable—do we sometimes either push forward with blind intensity or else find something to entertain ourselves so we don’t have to think too much about it, rather than tuning in to a divine presence?

In the primary writing on Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, it states that praying to grow in grace is what we need most (see p. 4). It’s also written, “Grace and Truth are potent beyond all other means and methods” (p. 67). Beyond all else! 

That day in the airport I yearned to know this grace. I let go completely of trying to figure out what to do and didn’t try to escape from the welling despair. Instead, I deeply hungered to know God more and to feel the divine presence there with me. 

I just stood still and mentally closed off all the noise. In the quiet stillness of thought, I heard a clear affirmation: “Man is benevolent.” This speaks to the reality and individuality of true selfhood of the God-made man, wholly existent in Spirit. I felt a total calm come over me, rooting me in God’s immanent presence—not projecting the future or berating the past. I stopped thinking about anything but that one truth. 

When I looked up again moments later, the supervisor was on the phone. They’d decided to let me on the flight. It departed in twenty minutes. 

“When a hungry heart petitions the divine Father-Mother God for bread, it is not given a stone,—but more grace, obedience, and love” (Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 127). This kind of deep hunger admits the inseparability of us with God. It sets aside a personal ego or willpower and shows how no mistake is beyond the reach of divine Love’s all-power.  

Scientific Christian prayer is not human problem-solving, hoping God will intervene with a solution. It’s about harmonizing with that divine reality that is always present. In this reality of consciousness, it doesn’t matter if we’re in an airport, a church, or on a boat in the middle of the ocean—we can discover the unity with God Jesus showed us, and see grace in action in life.

Being full of grace brings beauty, calm, peace, and tranquillity into our experience. This is a strong contrast to the willfulness of ego that intensely insists on controlling life or getting others to do what we want. And none of us lack grace. It is included in our God-reflected nature and is felt in stillness. 

We can feel a vibrant sense of divine presence whenever our hungry heart cries out for more than just a solution to a problem. The clamoring of mental noise from the pace and demands of modern life may obscure this presence. But the Christ-power silences the chaos and quiets thought to feel the oneness with divine authority.

The divine influence of grace enables human consciousness to transcend dismal views of life to experience divine reality. The divine will of God is always good and secures our lives in goodness. Then the outcome of a bleak situation, through God’s perfect grace, will be that we are blessed and forgiven.

Larissa Snorek
Associate Editor

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