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To be free

From the July 4, 2016 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

The desire for freedom is increasingly stirring in human hearts throughout the world, from individuals to whole nations. We’re often very aware of efforts to achieve political, racial, or ethnic freedom. These make the news and have a large impact on wide swaths of society. But also going on, often unnoticed, are the quiet efforts of individuals to gain their own liberty—financial freedom, for instance, or freedom from physical ailments and disabilities, or from burdens imposed on them by difficult circumstances. 

What underlies true liberty in any direction, collectively or individually, is a fundamental spiritual truth—man’s inseparability from God, divine Love. Man’s oneness with God as His image, or expression, is a state of inherent freedom, because divine Love governs man benevolently and harmoniously. God expresses in every one of His children health, abundant substance and supply, unrestricted movement and ability, and joy.

When Christ Jesus said that knowing the truth would make us free (see John 8:32), he was talking about this truth of God and our relationship to Him. Jesus taught that freedom doesn’t come from outside of us but from within. It’s inherent in the kingdom of God that reigns in our true, God-given being, and it’s provable in our experience through healing. 

Jesus lived during a time of both religious and political oppression, as well as opposition to his ministry. Yet it appears from the Bible accounts that he fully felt and lived his individual freedom in every way. For instance, the Bible records this encounter: “The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee. And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected” (Luke 13:31, 32). 

Divine Mind forever maintains the freedom of all creation, expressing its righteous government in the true selfhood of each of us. 

And Jesus did exactly that. He remained free right up until his crucifixion, when he allowed himself to be taken. After his burial, on the third day he “burst the bonds of the tomb,” to use Mary Baker Eddy’s words (Message to The Mother Church for 1902, p. 19), and proved for all humanity that life is not confined in matter, because our true being expresses infinite Spirit, God. 

You can’t imprison a ray of light, capture it in a box, or pin it under a stone. The more our thought is filled with the light of Truth, or Christ, the more freedom we experience in our life. It’s a freedom that grows meekly; but however modest, it’s also a freedom that can’t be restrained. In my own life, for example, difficulties that often used to crop up have faded away as I’ve outgrown my fear of sickness or made progress over character flaws. And many other individuals have had similar experiences in Christian Science. Through spiritual progress we increasingly escape the bonds of material belief, and nothing can hinder us from doing this.

As Jesus proved through his healings, sickness isn’t part of God’s will for us, because infinite Spirit can produce only harmony, and divine Love can produce only good. So we all have the opportunity, and authority from God, to overthrow the burdens of material belief and claim for ourselves the harmony that God forever bestows on us. In our perfect, real identity, there is no sickness to imprison us, no sin to plant thorns in our path, no defect to hobble us in any way. These can never be part of our real individuality, which is shaped, characterized, and maintained by divine Love.

Referring to the United States, Mary Baker Eddy writes: “The history of our country, like all history, illustrates the might of Mind, and shows human power to be proportionate to its embodiment of right thinking” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 225). 

All right thinking, including justice, mercy, wisdom, unselfishness, respect for others, and so on, has its source in God, the divine Mind. Right thinking is always supported by the power of Mind—in efforts to establish wiser, more just governments, for instance, or to right wrongs in society. 

The ultimate of right thinking is the pure spiritual understanding that divine Spirit imparts to each of us. As we turn in heartfelt prayer to the spiritual truth of being, we begin to understand more of man’s dominion over slavery of all types. In the reality of divine Science, there can be no oppressed peoples, because divine Mind forever maintains the freedom of all creation, expressing its righteous government in the true selfhood of each of us. 

Praying to affirm and understand these truths brings the Science of being to light for the benefit of all mankind. The transformative activity of divine Science, or the Holy Ghost, operates quietly wherever in the world there is receptivity to the freeing influence of divine Love. The Holy Ghost counteracts enslaving, oppressive traits such as greed, lust, depravity, mad ambition, hate, unbridled self-will, and the lust for power. It uncovers these traits, exposes their wrongness and their unreality, and fosters instead the freeing qualities of goodness and wisdom that derive from Mind.

In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy writes: “The power of God brings deliverance to the captive. No power can withstand divine Love” (p. 224). 

I find it encouraging to remember that even in the midst of religious and political oppression, Christ Jesus taught and lived the gospel of freedom. He taught us that freedom is not based on the circumstances we find ourselves in, but that it flows from Truth and Love understood and lived in our lives. More and more we find our true freedom in yielding to the purity of Soul, in seeking the wisdom of divine Mind, in trusting Truth wholeheartedly, and in cultivating through repentance and regeneration the unselfishness of Love. 

This is freedom that cannot be taken from us, and that we can help others discover, as well.

David C. Kennedy

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