The Coming of Our Lord

In Paul's first epistle to the Thessalonians we read respecting "them which are asleep," "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." This Scriptural promise has been a source of much comfort to those who look forward longingly to the time when this meeting with our Lord shall actually take place. Christian Science not only emphasizes the truth and consolation contained in this beautiful passage, but in addition it assures us with the joyous conviction that this supreme event is not meant to be postponed to a future time, but that it is to a certain extent and degree a present posibility. It is, however, necessary to get the real or spiritual interpretation of the text.

It must be remembered that the Eastern writers of old were in the habit of clothing their meaning in symbolic language, hence the mistake of reading literally what was written metaphorically. Of Christ Jesus it was said that "without a parable spake he not unto them." Since all Christians believe that the Bible is the word of God, who is Spirit and Truth, the spiritual meaning must be the true interpretation. No material picture in our thought of the happenings portrayed in the above text can convey its real meaning. "The Lord" refers to Christ, who said, "I am . . . the truth." The verb "to meet" implies on our part effort, desire, and searching. "To meet the Lord" signifies to gain an understanding of and to accept divine Truth, and we can do this only as we rise above materiality, since the truth of being is never material.

The marginal note of this Bible text also refers to the ascension of Christ Jesus as depicted in the first chapter of Acts : "This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." Where is the heaven referred to, to which it is stated that Jesus has departed? Heaven is where God is; and as God is everywhere, heaven must be everywhere. Therefore to reach heaven it is necessary to be godlike. What does it signify to be godlike, or like God? God is Love, Truth, Life, divine Mind. Therefore to be godlike (and so to reach heaven) it is essential to be truthful, loving, alive to good, and to think only the pure and perfect thoughts of divine Mind. That "heaven is not a locality, but a divine state of Mind" (Science and Health, p. 291), is shown from our Lord's statement, "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation : neither shall they say, Lo here ! or, Lo there ! for, behond, the kingdom of God is within you." It is well worthy of notice that the marginal note refers to the words "with observation" as meaning "with outward show." It is evident, therefore, that to reach heaven is purely a mental process. Our Lord's ascension could only mean the complete overcoming of all the beliefs which constitute material selfhood through the perfect realization of at-one-ment with God, ever-present divine Spirit, or as Christ Jesus said of his own exaltation, "the glory which I had with thee before the world was."

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Resentment Overcome
December 5, 1914

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