Spiritual growth and its natural meridian
Spiritual laws always remain at the apex of strength, available to every single one of us.
Could it be said that maintaining momentum in one’s growth Spiritward is as vital as beginning it in the first place? I love how Mary Baker Eddy, who founded Christian Science, encouraged people to reach higher and farther in their practice of Christian Science. To the students in one of her classes, she wrote: “Beloved:—I am glad you enjoy the dawn of Christian Science; you must reach its meridian. Watch, pray, demonstrate. Released from materialism, you shall run and not be weary, walk and not faint” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 254).
Especially interesting is that word meridian. When you throw a ball up into the air, the peak of its height is its meridian. In her counsel, Mrs. Eddy refers to spiritual heights that spring from a knowledge and demonstration of the laws and power of God. In contrast to the fact that a ball must fall back to earth, however, this divine power and these spiritual laws always remain at the apex of strength, available to every single one of us.
This healing, transforming power of God brought to bear on human consciousness is a hallmark of Christian Science. Full release from materialism—the meridian of Christian Science—comes with the culmination of knowledge, understanding, and practice. Attaining this meridian may seem like a big assignment. Yet, it must be attainable, or humanity’s Way-shower, Christ Jesus, wouldn’t have demonstrated it and, through his example, encouraged us to reach for it.
Prayer is a receptive listening, rather than a fearful spilling of words.
This meridian of the Science of Christ presents man not as materially vulnerable but as spiritually invincible. God’s creation remains continuously and entirely at the point of spiritual flawlessness, enduringly reflecting the goodness and perfect nature of God. To strive for the meridian of Christian Science, we say of God with the Bible’s David, “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness” (Psalms 17:15).
Mrs. Eddy gives practical guidance on how to reach Christianity’s meridian, counseling us to “watch, pray, demonstrate.” Watchfulness certainly is a key element. Many of humanity’s thoughts and all of its fears suggest, mistakenly, that we are suffering from a gaping separation from the goodness that is God. So, we must watch each thought arriving on our mental horizon, whether it seems to come from within us or from the world. It is important to do so because there is such a close association between what we think and what we experience.
This shows the value of prayer, because it reveals that it is not human reasoning but divine intelligence that truly and permanently transforms consciousness and heals. Prayer is a receptive listening, rather than a fearful spilling of words. Prayer begins as soon as we are mentally still and listening to God’s comforting messages. God is always providing inspired insight and intelligence, engendering confidence in His care, and revealing new views of our coexistence with God.
Finally, the best part in reaching for the meridian of Christian Science is demonstration. This is where careful watchfulness and heartfelt prayer combine into action, which is seen in our acts, words, attitude, and outlook.
Just how important is demonstration? Being aware of a thousand truths is nothing compared to living one truth. Stating a truth versus bringing a truth to life through actions could be compared to reading a recipe for chocolate cake versus actually executing the recipe and producing a cake.
A friend of mine has a daughter in sixth grade. She and her daughter began praying together about a tooth growing in so crooked that it appeared to be sideways. Their initial prayers certainly were inspiring. But the need was to take what they were learning to a place of action in which materialism and its imperfections are spurned, and thought and perspective move toward the meridian of God’s unending perfection. That perfection was already perpetually expressed by the daughter, who is God’s creation. The need, they realized, was to agree less with what their eyes were seeing and embrace more of what God was telling them. They were delighted when the tooth became straight in less than a week.
In speaking of God, divine Mind, Mrs. Eddy explains, “He must be ours practically, guiding our every thought and action; else we cannot understand the omnipresence of good sufficiently to demonstrate, even in part, the Science of the perfect Mind and divine healing” (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 28). “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work,” is how Jesus put it (John 5:17).
May this pure light of Mind be majestically evident in its reflected action in man. The promise of everything Christian Science has shown the world thus far could be compared with a magnificent dawn. The surprising beauty and multitextured light of Christian Science, practiced deeply and wholeheartedly, surely is a great joy. And yet, like the sun, how much brighter the light is at its meridian.
For the sun itself, there is never a dawn or a dusk. Wholly and constantly bright, it’s always shining at full strength. This is even more so for the light of God’s law and love. We progress solidly as we behold the light and power of God more and more, thought by thought, act by act. “The changing glow and full effulgence of God’s infinite ideas, images, mark the periods of progress,” notes Mrs. Eddy in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (p. 511).
Certainly, maintaining momentum in our growth Spiritward is as vital as beginning this growth in the first place. In reaching for the meridian of Christian Science, it’s the continuing individual demonstration of what God knows—of Mind’s infinite understanding of divine Truth—that makes prayer palpably helpful. “We have it only as we live it” says Mrs. Eddy (Miscellany, p. 126). In light of that, let there be a oneness of inspiration and action, with thoughts and acts becoming more and more reconciled through the inspiring intelligence of God. To the degree that we watch, pray, and demonstrate, we are released from materialism and can rightfully sing, “Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth” (Revelation 19:6).