"Loose him"

One of the greatest moments, surely, of all the gospel narrative, was that when the company of those who stood before the tomb of Lazarus, and had heard the Master's call, "Come forth," awaited the outcome in breathless wonder. One can easily picture the fixed tensity with which both the incredulous and the expectant leaned forward and looked upon the cave's opening, and hear the cries of astonishment, the exclamations of joy with which they greeted the once dead man as he "came forth, bound hand and foot with grave-clothes," and yet with the step of a conqueror. For him life's supreme event had been experienced, the direst human bondage escaped from, and yet the first word spoken of him was in recognition of limitations, the need of a larger liberty. "Loose him," said Jesus, "and let him go." Manifestly the truth had come to confer the fullest freedom. It demanded the removal of every shackle of mortal belief, including those of affection, and thus, as we learn in Christian Science, it would bring complete spiritual emancipation to each and every one.

Interpreting Jesus' words in the light of Science, one gains a new sense of duty to his fellow men, and especially to those to whom he is deeply attached. He sees as not before what a fettering fact affection may become, and how imperative the call to remove every limiting enswathement with which our erroneous thought may have encumbered those whom we fain would bless. The vision of the truth, the realization of the truth, and the gain of entire freedom by the truth,—these are stages of consciousness, the advancing steps of redemptive experience. He who has even glimpsed the light of Life is in so far "raised from the dead." The valley of shadows can never seem real to him again, he has come to know that its darkness must give place to light; but to articulate this higher sense of Truth and Life with every aspect of past belief, and demonstrate its efficiency in every time of need,—this is an achievement which may be long delayed. Moreover, when gained, entire freedom from the disabling influence of world beliefs, the impress of education, and the manacling mesmerism of personality, must await his further patient growth. It is just here that the Master's mandate, "Loose him," relates itself to his spiritual advance, for it may be his to find that in their mental attitude his family, his social circle, and the Christian friends with whom he has been sympathetically identified,—that all these, under the dominion of false mortal sense, would keep him in a state of bondage which he will consciously or unconsciously have to resist long after he has been able to prove in many ways his saving apprehension of divine Truth.

One of the greatest ministries of Christian Science is recorded in its redemption of human attachments. As fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, companions and friends, how zealously, and insistently ofttimes, have we hampered those we love, mesmerically bound their hands with our fears and entangled their feet with our selfish solicitudes, and this perchance at the very moment when they were otherwise called and prepared to step out into a life of the largest freedom! To us, therefore, there comes this word today, Loose them, and let them go! Our loved ones, our pupils, our friends—give to all these, to everybody and everything, the freedom of the gospel, the freedom which belongs to their true nature, kinship, liberty, and privilege in Christ. This does not mean that we are to neglect the requirements of obedience in love from our children, nor that we shall hesitate to administer words of counsel and rebuke under circumstances which have Scripture warrant. It means simply that we shall free our fellow pilgrims from every limitation or restraint which the selfish or dominating disposition of human attachments is so wont to impose.

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Watchfulness and Prayer
August 8, 1914

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