Alert, alive, awake, aware!

God’s goodness impels the spark in our individual practice of Christian Science. 

The Bible verse “How is the gold become dim!” (Lamentations 4:1) describes exactly how I felt. The spark, that effervescent joy and enthusiasm that had so vividly marked my love of Christian Science and impelled my commitment to its practice, now seemed so dim. Where had it gone? Christian Science was my way of life. How had my mission lost the oomph that had made it so alive? 

I remember praying all morning, trying to drum up this sense of joy, but to no avail. Then, on the way home from work, I got God’s answer from a bumper sticker on the car in front of me. It said: “Be alert. The world needs more lerts.” The quirky humor of it was exactly what I needed. Immediately, I thanked God for that wake-up call. 

I realized that the spark hadn’t gone anywhere. This was God’s way of waking me up to the need to hug, hold, and keep this spontaneous joy. How? By staying alert, alive, and awake to, as well as aware of, God—moment by moment throughout each day. God’s allness, onlyness, and goodness impel the spark, or special joyfulness, in our individual practice of Christian Science. 

I got God’s answer from a bumper sticker on the car in front of me.

I saw that I not only needed to stay alert but actually could. First, I needed to be alive and alert to the truth of being that God had shown me in Christian Science—to the truth that perfect God is the only creator and that perfect, spiritual man (the reality of each of us) is God’s very image. Then, I needed to be equally alert and alive to the unreality of the devilish, insidious insistence on matter’s truthfulness that would deny God’s supremacy.

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, refers to this spiritual alertness as being “keenly alive to the truth of being” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 275). She was consistently and keenly alive to God’s allness and almightiness. She also spoke of Jesus as being “keenly alive to the injustice, ingratitude, treachery, and brutality that he received” (Message to The Mother Church for 1902, pp. 18–19).

Both Jesus’ example and Mrs. Eddy’s helped me see the importance of being alive, alert, and awake not only to what is true but also to that which is not true. A Church Manual By-Law titled “Alertness to Duty” (Mary Baker Eddy, p. 42) highlights the importance of defending ourselves daily against such aggressive, wrong thoughts. 

These aggressive thoughts aren’t necessarily those that hit you over the head; they can also come in the form of a subtle, slow, unseen dulling of inspiration or spiritual joy that we experience when we neglect to defend our spiritual sense. The result is that a creeping lethargy or complacency sets in. This Manual By-Law awakens us to the importance of this daily duty. It is God’s requirement, and therefore God, the “show-er,” shows us, the “show-ee,” how we can fulfill it, thought by thought. 

With this realization came the determination for me to be God’s active witness—alert, alive, awake, aware—and committed to seeing only what God knows and sees. This would so enthrone Him in my consciousness as to keep me constantly, consistently “keenly alive to the truth of being.” Then I wouldn’t be fooled, frightened, or even frustrated by any false, material claim. 

Now, daily striving to obey this duty has become top priority for me. And that Christly spark, that effervescent rejoicing in the substantiality and supremacy of Spirit, has not dwindled or dimmed since then. To the extent that I daily defend my natural obedience to God, I remain alert, and I am learning that this is not a chore but the best and most important time of the day. It’s my “date with God,” and it is filled with joy.

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