A new birth after hard times
Needing to start anew after one or more of life’s most challenging circumstances, or for any reason, is something many of us have faced. Climbing out of a dark place or picking up the pieces of hearts and lives can seem daunting. But embracing the promise of restoration and healing that a new birth offers can make all the difference.
At its core, the new birth is a deep spiritualization of thought that permeates one’s life. It’s a humble yielding to Spirit, God, and letting oneself be made new. An article titled “The New Birth” written by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, describes this spiritual transformation: “The new birth is not the work of a moment. 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).
Mrs. Eddy’s words came out of a life lived, including triumphs over great struggles and an ongoing intent to let God lead her thought and life. Following the teachings of Christ Jesus, she was led to realize that each of us needs to be saved from belief in a hopeless, unreal existence subject to sin, disease, and death. The understanding of her relation to God brought healing and revealed her natural wholeness, insight, and life purpose. And through this understanding, she developed inner strength and spiritual dominion and was able to prove God’s immediate presence in healing others. Christ, the true idea of God, was leading her to freedom, revelation, and the fulfillment of her Christian mission.
With new birth comes a willingness to let go of anything that would obstruct our progress.
Christian Science encourages us to acknowledge our present relation to God, eternal Life and Love. It teaches us that as God’s, Spirit’s, likeness, we are eternal, spiritual—and that even though the material senses may argue for the reality of, for example, a deep-felt loss, obstinate sin, or incurability, God continues to maintain our true, divine identity, and Christ actively reveals it.
The new birth is the Christ awakening us from a suggestive matter-based perception to the realization of what’s actually real: a spiritual life that expresses God’s love and harmony. As humanity grasps the truth of God’s ever-presence, and increasingly insists on claiming and expressing God-given dominion over the false beliefs of sin, disease, and death, it will be more apparent that divine Love is the true seat of authority, and that each of us in our true spiritual nature is guided by, and obedient to, God’s universal law of good.
With this new birth comes a willingness to let go of anything that would obstruct or delay our restoration, renewal, and inspired progress toward a greater purpose, an unselfed cause, and an active life of giving and loving.
We can take this approach toward healing mental images, memories, and aftereffects of September 11, 2001. Many of us with ties to New York City—as well as fellow citizens in the United States and others around the world—have had to dig deep into a spiritual understanding of Jesus’ teachings to have our thought and lives rehabilitated after that time. The 9/11 Memorial & Museum in lower Manhattan is a labor of love. It is also a reminder of the eternal individuality and the contributions of those who passed away and of the courageous love exhibited by so many through devotion to and sacrifice for their fellow man.
Because thought is ever evolving, the recollection of a profound event such as 9/11 invites retrospection, which can lead to fresh insight beyond the event’s initial impact. For many, out of this extreme experience rose an opportunity for spiritual renewal—individually and collectively. For some, this meant deepening their understanding of God, and of each of us as inseparable from our creator and each other—coexistent and coeternal in divine Spirit, God, no matter how difficult the circumstances we have faced or are facing.
As each of us grows in spiritually understanding this, it can lead to the Christ-based stability, wisdom, and brotherhood that increasingly defuse extreme occurrences. We can prayerfully affirm what God knows us to be—innocent, whole, cared for, abiding in divine law, and ready to exemplify Mind’s, God’s, intelligence and goodness. We can permanently set aside all earth weights (see Hebrews 12:1 )—such as harmful behavior, sorrowful regret, or deep longing for a loved one—that would obscure the good God is pouring out for us today.
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mrs. Eddy, speaking to the world, invites all to be newborn of Spirit with these words: “Let us feel the divine energy of Spirit, bringing us into newness of life and recognizing no mortal nor material power as able to destroy. Let us rejoice that we are subject to the divine ‘powers that be’ ” (p. 249).
As our spiritual new birth continues, we move forward as God’s forever expression, entirely fulfilling our purpose to demonstrate our spiritual life as substantial, intact, invaluable, authentic, and dearly loved. How amazing is that?
John Quincy Adams III, Guest Editorial Writer