Redeeming the time
Redemption is an old idea. Today it’s used mainly in reference to the exchange of things such as pledges, frequent flyer miles, and mortgages—for money, free trips, or property. But redemption has a much more profound meaning as a buyback or ransom when we think of it in terms of people—as a person reborn, reclaimed from a life of sickness or slavery or crime.
Redemption is also associated by people the world over with Christ Jesus, especially at the Easter season. In fact, for centuries, Jesus has been called mankind’s Redeemer and “the Son of man,” who gave “his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). This is the case not only because of his sinless life of love and healing works, freeing so many from suffering, but particularly because of his supreme sacrifice in enduring the crucifixion. His triumphant resurrection three days later meant that he had fully overcome both death and the evils that caused it.
Some believe that through this sacrificial experience, Jesus forever bought humanity’s freedom from sin. Yet, clearly sin didn’t go away—sin, the great impediment to good, to happiness, peace, health, progress, and life. But Jesus did bring to light, and demonstrated completely, the means by which we can all gain the freedom we seek. This freedom began then, and still does, with a change in thought—a reorientation to God and away from matter and self. He said, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17), and “Behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). And Jesus provided abundant proof of the redeeming power of Christ in the numberless healings he brought about through prayer.
Jesus’ life models the kind of day-by-day living sacrifice that is needed in order to experience our God-given freedom from sin and illness, including the constricting belief of life in matter. In fact, the Christ—the true idea of God, and the truth of each of us as holy and wholly governed and cherished by our divine creator—disabuses human thought of its fundamental miscalculation that God is distant and man fallen. Christ reverses that long-accepted belief in brokenness as we embrace reality: God and man’s eternal oneness as Love and its likeness, and the perfect permanence of this union.
Right then, I claimed God’s constant provision and abundant good for all His children, without exception.
This spiritual redemption is not a one-time occurrence, for mankind or for us individually. It happens step by step, day by day. Mary Baker Eddy’s article “The New Birth” says of this reformation, “It begins with moments, and goes on with years; moments of surrender to God, of childlike trust and joyful adoption of good; moments of self-abnegation, self-consecration, heaven-born hope, and spiritual love” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 15).
I tasted this saving power of divine Love near the end of a long business trip in a developing country. I became ill with symptoms of dysentery. A Christian Science practitioner’s prayers brought quick relief. But the next day, before a major presentation, I nearly collapsed. I lay down in the back seat of the car we had been traveling in and silently, earnestly asked God what I needed to do. In the stillness I heard, “Redeem the time.”
I thought of Jesus’ three days in the tomb and realized he no doubt had spent that time redeeming the events of the week before—the disciples’ desertion, the physical abuse and suffering, the hatred, the loneliness. And how renewing it was for me to recognize the great unselfed love with which he had clearly met every offense, because no hurt remained for him. If Jesus could prove that Christ could sustain him under such crushing conditions, I surely could redeem the events of my trip.
For nearly a month, I had witnessed evidence of great good. But juxtaposed with this, I had also seen severe hardship, poverty, disease, pollution, crime, and conflict. Yet Christly love was just as present for me as it had been for Jesus. And I saw I could meet each wrong with the truth of the divine Love and changeless good that are always present.
Right then, I claimed God’s constant provision and abundant good for all His children, without exception, acknowledging the universal, God-given laws of order, justice, safety, and harmony in place of the discords that had seemed so prevalent. While my freedom from dysentery soon after pales in comparison to Jesus’ resurrection, it illustrates the timeless, ever-present fact that God’s saving power is available to each of us, anywhere, at any time.
Humanity’s Redeemer still lives, and moments of spiritual rebirth become daily experiences as we learn to love and live as Christ Jesus did. You’ll find ample and moving testimony to this fact in Ingrid Peschke’s “This Easter, choose to rise higher” and in each of the other articles and healing accounts that follow it.
Ethel A. Baker, Editor
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