Your name is written in heaven
Above, beyond, and outside of anything that happens to us in our day-to-day lives, our true self is established in spiritual reality.
Cold symptoms seemed to be a thing of the past for me. Through my practice of Christian Science, I had come to see very clearly that when symptoms of a cold first appeared, I could mentally refute them; they were not in my body but in my consciousness—a temptation to believe in a power opposed to God, good. And I’d realized that succumbing to this temptation was no more obligatory to me than thinking that I—someone who doesn’t drink alcohol—had to pull over to buy a six-pack of beer because I’d just passed a highway billboard advertising beer!
I frequently prayed with this passage from the textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy: “When the illusion of sickness or sin tempts you, cling steadfastly to God and His idea. Allow nothing but His likeness to abide in your thought. Let neither fear nor doubt overshadow your clear sense and calm trust, that the recognition of life harmonious—as Life eternally is—can destroy any painful sense of, or belief in, that which Life is not” (p. 495).
It had become increasingly clear to me that all symptoms of disease are the temptation to doubt God’s ever-presence. Whenever episodes of congestion came up, as I clung steadfastly to the harmonious nature of divine Life, the symptoms would vanish. I had become confident that cold symptoms were illusory because they would always back off when I prayed this way.
I needed to better grasp the underlying Principle, divine Love, that is holding me and all.
Then one morning I had a sore throat. “No problem,” I thought. I spent a few moments thinking about all of the times that I had seen such symptoms end, and I felt sure that knowing they had no true substance would cause them to disappear again. But as I went about my day, the symptoms did not stop but, in fact, got worse and worse. I had a restless night.
In the morning, I read the Bible Lesson from the Christian Science Quarterly, a weekly Lesson composed of passages from the Bible and Science and Health. It included the story about Jesus sending out seventy of his followers to fulfill their own healing ministries. When they returned, they were all excited that “devils” (the delusion of diseases and other evils) were subject to being cast out through their prayers. Jesus assured them that absolutely nothing could harm them because of the might of Christ, God’s truth. But then he lifted their thoughts to an even more important reality: “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).
Ah, there was my answer! I had gotten so focused on how good I was getting at seeing the unreality of the sneaky temptation of cold symptoms that I was impressed by my own ability to cast them out. Instead, I needed to better grasp the underlying Principle, divine Love, that is holding me and all of us in tender, eternal, ever-present care. The “fixing” of cold symptoms had become like getting good at “whacking” the moles in the popular arcade game instead of, say, just unplugging the machine, which would prevent the moles from popping up! I needed to go deeper in my prayers and see that there is no source for any temptation or discord in divine Love. As I sat quietly, rejoicing in the awareness that my name was written in heaven, the symptoms simply melted away.
This leads me to the question “What does it mean, then, that our names are written in heaven?” Well, it implies that above, beyond, and outside of anything that happens to us in our day-to-day lives, our true self is established in spiritual reality, which is not subject to inharmony. It’s kind of like realizing that none of the construction zones and traffic problems on the highway can affect you if you are in an airplane flying to your destination. It is the great joy of realizing that before a human birth, or any of the chapters and episodes of the story that we call our life, God got there first and is holding us all, individually and collectively, as the precious, immortal, and perfect reflection of His own infinitude and glory.
Having our names written in heaven implies that our name and nature are specifically known to God, Mind.
Christ Jesus repeatedly urged his followers to be aware that the kingdom of heaven is at hand and within. He was constantly proving that harmony is ever present as the very law of God’s ever-presence. Science and Health defines heaven this way: “Harmony; the reign of Spirit; government by divine Principle; spirituality; bliss; the atmosphere of Soul” (p. 587).
Having our names written in heaven implies that our true name and nature are specifically known to God, Mind. Each of us is a unique manifestation of the infinite individuality of Soul, God. How precious it is to feel that no one can take our place, that nobody is left out, and that we are each vital as the infinite expression of God’s fullness. We are not comparative personalities with human strengths and weaknesses but the spiritual image of God that includes every attribute of God in a unique arrangement of those attributes.
Finally, to have our names written in heaven implies that this is what is transcribed or recorded; it is our permanent record. We are not trapped in a mortal drama that is subject to chance and circumstance, hoping for our share of some happiness and good, with death as the end of our story. No! We have preexistent, coexistent, and eternal being as God’s expression, which means that we have continuity before, during, and after what appears to be our day-to-day life.
The significance of healing, then, is so much more than getting some episode of illness to back off. It is a glimpse of the continuity of our eternal existence in Life, God. How good to know that life is not about beating down some mortal adversities only to be fettered by others. With each moment of resisting the temptation to believe in the presence or power of disease or evil of any kind and seeing it melt into nothingness, we are seeing the unchanging continuity of Life, where we abide eternally with God. And that is real progress, purpose, and cause for rejoicing!