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Making progress: getting the nourishment we need

More important than a well-stocked pantry is the spiritual truth that sustains us.

From the December 28, 1992 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

Recently I had to think about what real progress and learning are. As a result, I turned to the Bible. One thing I saw over and over again was that in the Bible learning or elevating thought is compared metaphorically to eating. In the last book of the New Testament, the apostle's vision is of an angel with a little book in his hand, who tells the apostle to eat it up. Another wonderful symbol is the tree of life. The book of Revelation says that all who overcome may eat of it.

And, of course, Christ Jesus in one of his Beatitudes gives us the clear instruction that one food in particular should interest us. He says, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled."

As Jesus stated, the real desire for righteousness—for truth—is like hunger and thirst. Jesus further indicates that spiritual truth or righteousness is vital, life-giving. And because this is so, shouldn't we get acquainted with such nourishment and feed our deep desire to be satisfied with the highest type of sustenance attainable?

Mary Baker Eddy discovered in Christian Science that the teaching and healings of Jesus exemplified a spiritual law, still applicable and effective today. This law is of God, or divine Principle. It is a pure, active, healing, redeeming law, and its force in our lives draws from the fact that man is indeed the outcome of divine Principle. Man, as the Bible makes plain, is God's child, God's beloved image. In order to understand the profound significance of this fact—not just with the head but with the heart—we must make full use of spiritual truth that tells us of our real, spiritual being, of true life and living. This nourishment is amply found in the revelations of God to humanity: the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mrs. Eddy.

In my experience the best way to ensure good spiritual nutrition for the day is to start the day right from the outset with thoughts that are attuned to God.

One way to partake of spiritual truth is to listen. When we listen through prayer, we perceive Spirit's reality and goodness present wherever we are, bringing healing from sin as well as sickness. But we need to elevate thought above the fear and false belief that man is physical and mortal and therefore separated from Spirit's loving provision.

Some time ago I was involved in a severe problem that had absorbed my every thought. Wrapped up in fretful care, I resisted stopping and praying about it; instead I wasted time in ruminating about my needs. Spiritual truths—"our daily bread"—at first didn't interest me. But God's Christ, being always present with us, is right at hand to provide needed insight for spiritual clarity. And so I eventually realized that I was acting like a prisoner of my own wrong thoughts, not listening to infinite Mind, God, but like someone on a mental hunger strike, refusing to take in life-preserving, life-sustaining truths of my real being. When I realized that, I started to turn wholeheartedly in prayer to divine Love, and immediately I felt released. My heart gratefully accepted the fresh truths offered by Principle, Love, about me and about everyone. The situation turned—from darkness to the fullness of light. A complete healing!

Taking in God's view of reality feeds us, renews us, regenerates us. Why? Because we learn that we really are God's children, sustained continuously by His pure love. Fear and sin are exposed as false pretenders to the power and authority that only God possesses. And learning about reality is, of course, so much fresher than anything else. Since God is Truth and Life, reality cannot be perceived without perceiving what man's true being is, for spiritual being is indeed reality. Mrs. Eddy tells us in her book The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany: "The good in being, even the spiritually indispensable, is your daily bread."

In my experience the best way to ensure good spiritual nutrition for the day is to start the day right from the outset with thoughts that are attuned to God. In the stillness of the morning we can claim our oneness with the divine Mind and feel fed by it—even before we take a bite of breakfast. This order follows the Ten Commandments, which advise us to put God first in our lives.

The Bible tells us that Christ is "the bread of life." It is important that we not reject this nourishment. Christ, Truth, is always present in the consciousness of each and every one as a divine, healing influence. Knowing the divine source of this food—this "bread of life"—will help us to conquer the distractions trying to tempt us away from it.

One of the most impressive examples in Christian history of the power of the Christ is the occasion after Jesus' resurrection when the disciples were together in a little room, and as the Gospel of John tells us, "the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews." There were mental walls of unbelief erected, doors closed to spiritual light, barricades of fear and mistrust put up. But Jesus came and stood in the midst of them and said: "Peace be unto you."

What a wonderful indication of a great spiritual fact. Regardless of all the attempts to refuse our dear Father's perfect peace, regardless of the mental walls erected by mortal thought against Love's actuality, Love is near, speaking to our fearful hearts through Christ. And the Christ tenderly acquaints us with Love's nature. Isn't this a powerful reminder that every obstacle to progress is already removed by the reality of God, Love?

Imagine just for a moment how you might have felt in that precious moment—sitting there in Jerusalem, in the small, hidden room, doors barricaded, caution and fear as well as disappointment in the air. And then Christ Jesus enters powerfully with a remarkable message: peace.

This historic event can tell us something very vital today. Even before we see any indication of healing, we can accept that Love's power is breaking through even the most threatening evidence. The event reminds us to open the mental iron doors and to accept the daily provision of spiritual food, which reforms and regenerates us. Like the disciples who went on to preach the gospel and heal the sick, we can expect to grow in grace and Christly works. It is God, Spirit, who provides life for us—a life that we already live right now as the reflection of eternal, divine goodness.

We can all trust more in divine Life and welcome in the Christ to remove all resistance and nourish our spiritual understanding. A hymn so warmly invites us:

O do not bar your mind
Against the light of good;
But open wide, let in the Word,
And Truth will be your food.

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