My fellow trivia team members and I have all observed an interesting phenomenon. With some regularity, a word unfamiliar to us will come up during a game. Invariably, we will then find that word, usually multiple times, in a book, a newspaper article, or a movie over the next couple of days. It has happened so frequently that we text these finds to one another and laugh about it.
It is likely that these words were always in our experience, but we were not cognizant of them. They were not relevant to what seemed important at the moment, so they were overlooked. Once the definition of the word was understood, though, there was a heightened awareness of it.
I think being aware of our spiritual identity can operate in the same way. The spiritual reality of God’s kingdom, here and now, might be missed if we are not really focused on it, not having a good understanding of what it is. I have found that a daily practice of devoting time to prayer and reading the spiritually enlightened texts of Christian Science has helped me to become more aware of the spiritual reality that is the presence of God.
I have often considered the words that Mary, the mother of Jesus, said: “My soul doth magnify the Lord” (Luke 1:46). To me it seems as though she is saying that she is so focused on loving God that His presence is magnified, to the exclusion of anything that is not of His nature.
Many times, this has proved helpful to me. Daily, I try to “magnify the Lord,” when confronted with conflict, or stories in the news, or a problem which needs to be resolved. I have found that if I begin with God, then everything looks different. Problems seem smaller and resolvable.
This was true in an experience I had while attending a special event. I always enjoy sharing in happy celebrations, but this time was different. It became clear when I arrived that although I had been invited, there was no real warmth expressed toward me. It was quite jarring. My feelings had a lot to say, and I was quick to take offense. I thought, “I haven’t done anything to deserve this. Why am I being victimized?” Allowing my feelings to rule was digging a deep hole. This approach was never going to heal this situation. I wanted out of that hole of self-pity, and I needed to return to what God was knowing about me, the others present, and the entire situation.
I have found that if I begin with God, then everything looks different.
I cannot say that I was immediately ready to give up taking offense; it seemed so justified. But through spiritual alertness, I could see that I was being manipulated by thoughts I knew couldn’t be from God. With this realization, the hypnotic effect of the bad feelings was broken, and the clear vision of the divine reality, which had always been present, was being revealed. As St. Paul wrote, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (I Corinthians 13:12). That was what was taking place—I was beginning to see more clearly. It did not come all at once. But it was enough to shake off feelings of victimization.
The first thought that followed was to love. What was my purpose in being there? For that matter, what was my purpose in being anywhere? It was to love in the way that Christ Jesus taught. A phrase from Mary Baker Eddy’s poem “Christ My Refuge” says:
And o’er earth’s troubled, angry sea
I see Christ walk,
And come to me, and tenderly,
(Poems, p. 12)
It seemed that I was in the midst of an angry sea. But the Christ-spirit was there, speaking to me and bringing peace. Inseparable from that divine message was the strength to follow through in word and deed. I knew that I had to pull away from the negative thoughts, which were no part of God’s kingdom, the perfection of the divine Mind that only knows the purity and peace of Love. That is where I wanted to stay, and I needed to see that everyone else was there too, and that we are all children of one God.
The Beatitudes given by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount include the following promises: “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:8, 9). Considering these words helped me keep my thought focused on loving our divine Parent. And I loved the idea of being a peacemaker. Peacemaking is supported by divine authority and has the power to bring healing to my thought and to every situation. I know that it is not up to me to change anyone else’s thoughts. My responsibility is to pray about what I allow to linger in my own thoughts and to continue to bless others, thereby magnifying the Lord. My prayer brought me peace that day and continues to do so, as I continue to embrace these folks in prayers of peace and healing.
Spiritual reality is always present, but it can be obscured if we just look passively at the human situation. Active Christian Science prayer and study, on the other hand, help to bring spiritual reality and peace into focus in our thoughts and experience. God is speaking to us moment by moment, and we are blessed when we are listening to Him—and others feel the blessings, too.
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