The Trimmed Lamp

A Trimmed lamp is one which is ready for use. From Genesis, when God's command, "Let there be light," banished chaos and darkness, to Revelation, when "the glory of God did lighten" the ineffable beauty of the holy city, light is used to typify the spiritual understanding which discloses the unreality, the nonexistence, of evil or darkness. The radiant reality of Mind and its manifestation is expressed by John in these words: "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." David, recognizing his human need for greater spiritual inspiration and direction, sang, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." The study of God's Word and practical use of its eternal truths bring into human experience the certainty of right action, the richness, beauty, and color which are the reflections of divine Mind.

Jesus' parable of the ten virgins is pointed and useful today. He pictures a village in ancient Palestine. In the darkness of the ancient streets, those joining in a wedding procession must carry their own lamps. Therefore, to take part in this colorful custom one must have his lamp ready; it must have oil, and the wick must be trimmed. Jesus, in relating this parable, was taking a lesson from the familiar experience of his hearers.

How shall we fill our lamp and keep it replenished, and thus be ready when "the bridegroom cometh"? Our Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, defines "oil" in the Glossary in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" as, "Consecration; charity; gentleness; prayer; heavenly inspiration." Consecration to Truth; charity toward all, a charity which is based on an understanding of man as spiritual; gentleness, which is the reflection of Love; prayer, which is a deep yearning for Truth; heavenly inspiration, that flame of light and ineffable beauty—this is the oil which we must buy for our lamps. It will cost us something. Oil must be bought with obedience and sacrifice of the false sense of self. Our lamps must be replenished by devotion and fidelity.

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December 26, 1942

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