Substance and Shadow

We learn through the study of Christian Science that the things seen with material eyes have not the reality of substance, that they are but temporal manifestations of mortal belief regarding creation, counterfeiting the invisible universe of God's creating. We begin to perceive that man is not a material body inclosing a soul, but that man is the reflection of Spirit, "the compound idea of God, including all right ideas" (Science and Health, p. 475), therefore as perfect, unchangeable, and enduring as God Himself, "with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." This recognition of the reality of being and consequent overcoming of time-honored beliefs and opinions relating to God, man, and the universe, has been aptly termed by our Leader, Mrs. Eddy, "the new birth going on hourly, by which men may entertain angels, the true ideas of God, the spiritual sense of being" (Science and Health, p. 548).

As simple illustrations, if not pursued too far and abused by confusing the material with the spiritual, may serve to point the way to eternal truths, the writer offers the following, which has been especially helpful in enabling her to discern the unreality of material conditions and things. One night during a long, seemingly hopeless struggle with arguments of the tempter to the effect that man is the helpless victim of material laws and conditions claiming to govern the body and mind, that he is controlled by his environment, by the opinions, pro or con, of his fellow men, and hampered by various other forms of limitation, as she sat in a darkened room facing the street, her attention was attracted to the seeming activity and animation of the shadows of trees dancing about on the pavement below and upon the houses across the way. In spite of their apparent activity, it required no effort to realize that they were making no impression whatever upon their playground, were accomplishing nothing, and every one of these shadows would disappear with the coming of light. The dark shadows of tree trunks, even though cast part way across the sidewalk and street, could not obstruct traffic or impede the progress of any passerby. And so it was that she caught a glorious glimpse of the real man, untouched, unchanged by the shadows of mortal beliefs, which were dependent upon darkness for pretended existence.

As the shadow had no root and never came in contact with the tree itself, so material man was seen as a shadow of the spiritual, real man, who is rooted and grounded forever in Life and Love. As the shadow possessed no power to hinder the growth of the tree, no power to interfere with the nourishment derived from the soil in which its roots were grounded, no power to prevent the tender little leaves and buds from forming in the spring's warm sunshine and gentle rains, neither could the poor counterfeit, mortal belief, possess any power to separate us from the source of our eternal existence, or prevent our response to the quickening Spirit, resulting in budding hopes and spiritual joys. As shadows of various types come in contact with one another and no harm ensues, so the impact of material objects in what is called an accident, or the clashing of human opinions, personal likes and dislikes, makes no impression upon true consciousness, and in the realm of Spirit nothing has really happened.

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"Thy kingdom come"
July 5, 1919

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