This way to paradise

The travel poster pictures a beautiful island girl wearing garlands of flowers. In the background, palm trees sway and white sands glisten. The caption reads, "Escape to the islands and find your longed-for paradise." Sound inviting? Sure it does! But why is the need to get away sometimes so desperate? Will the problems we want to avoid suddenly disappear, or will they still be there to haunt us when we return? If they are, then our "escape" to paradise leaves much to be desired.

The problems that seem so overwhelming are certainly no greater than some of those Christ Jesus faced. In fact, a few may be similar: the sick and infirm in need of healing, rivalry among friends and associates, widespread poverty and ignorance, national upheaval, dishonesty, public apathy. No problem, however great, was too tough for the Master.

Jesus frequently went to the mountains or elsewhere to pray alone, but his purpose was to commune with his Father, not to escape. He went to rejuvenate his feeling of unity with God—to reaffirm his dedication to the Father's will. Mrs. Eddy states: "The real Christ was unconscious of matter, of sin, disease, and death, and was conscious only of God, of good, of eternal Life, and harmony. Hence the human Jesus had a resort to his higher self and relation to the Father, and there could find rest from unreal trials in the conscious reality and royalty of his being,—holding the mortal as unreal, and the divine as real." Christ Jesus used what he gained in prayer for the benefit of humanity, whether he was turning water into wine, feeding the multitudes, or bringing about his own resurrection and ascension. Mrs. Eddy continues, "It was this retreat from material to spiritual selfhood which recuperated him for triumph over sin, sickness, and death." No and Yes, p. 36.

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"... a clearing up of abstractions"
June 8, 1981

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