The Harp of Joy

In the Psalms it is recorded that when the Jews were carried away captive and were required by their captors to sing the joyous songs of Zion, they hung their harps on the willows, complaining, "How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?" Scott refers in "Ivanhoe" to the same occasion when he makes Rebecca say dolefully in her well-known hymn, "Our harps we left by Babel's streams." In other words, the children of Israel at this time seemed inclined under the stress of circumstances to cease rejoicing.

The fallacy of such an inclination Mrs. Eddy once pointed out emphatically when she said in a letter (published in The Christian Science Journal, December, 1915): "May His presence and power that guided your passage continue, and your harps never be hung upon the willows." No matter what the circumstances may be, no matter how strange may seem the land in which we find ourselves temporarily, we can never afford to put aside the harp of joy and give ourselves over to weeping. To rejoice evermore is the absolute demand of divine Principle, and even though a human being may seem to disobey this command, the real man in God's image ceaselessly observes it.

What if our environment does seem grievous? Does not that very fact rightly require us to stand as Christian Scientists, as bringers of unhesitating joy? Is not the song of Zion exactly what the wrong state of thought needs to hear in order to give way before Principle? Of course the wrong state of thought, the grievous environment, most often claims to be "I." If evil did not suggest itself as man's own consciousness, it could never claim to be anything. Evil suggestions, such as, "I am really sick this time and cannot rejoice;" or, "I am poor;" or, "I am doing wrong and cannot help it," are simply different phases of the error which claims to be the captor, and these captives need to hear the sweet song of Zion, the joyous music of the harp which eternally praises God.

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March 8, 1919

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