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Pebbles that shine

From the June 18, 2007 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

As I was walking along the beach one day, I noticed how clean and shiny some pebbles were in comparison with others. I was intrigued, so I stopped and watched the water lapping over them again and again. I picked up one of the pebbles, wondering why I had never noticed them before. This pebble was quite beautiful and smooth, and as my eye followed the shining line on the edge of the water, I realized just what was happening.

No heart is so hard that it cannot be melted by the gentle touch of Love.

Those stones that were in the sea were being washed, rolling around with the gentle lapping of the water. Then as the soft wave turned, it left this line of pure brilliance. All that was needed was the pure water to cleanse them. Even a storm doesn't change the shape of the pebble or spoil its beauty. Being tossed around a little can actually improve their shape, as the moving of the water brings out their beauty. I saw in this a metaphor for our individual lives.

Sometimes we need to wash away the seeming dullness of thought—the feelings of frustration, fear, or loneliness that would make us feel that God is absent from our lives. Then we can do a better job of listening to divine Mind's guidance, of expressing the purity of Life and expressing the brightness of Love and Truth.

The book of Isaiah includes this promise, "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee" (43:2). And the Psalmist sang, "Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin" (51:2). God is gently moving us forward, cleansing us with the pure waters of understanding. What a wonderful feeling it is to know that God is always caring for us, that He loves us all and is molding us as we move in His love. No one is too old or too young, no heart is so hard that it cannot be melted by the gentle touch of Love.

Mary Baker Eddy explained in her book Science and Health, "The baptism of Spirit, washing the body of all the impurities of flesh, signifies that the pure in heart see God and are approaching spiritual Life and its demonstration" (p. 241).

This book is full of ideas and truths for us all to use in our daily experiences—truths that are so clear. For example, in the chapter "Prayer" we read: ". . . the longing to be better and holier, expressed in daily watchfulness and in striving to assimilate more of the divine character, will mould and fashion us anew, until we awake in His likeness" (p. 4). His likeness, clean and shining bright for all to see. This is our natural state—uncertainty, fear, or other negative elements of thought are removed as we affirm our true spiritual nature, inseparable from God. This affirmation is part of our response to God's "moulding and fashioning us anew": the other part is our willingness to change, to truly live from a spiritual standpoint, giving up whatever would hold us back.

And I love this hymn's reminder,

Living stones we, each in his place,
May we be worthy such a grace,
While Truth the wide earth

(Nikolaj F. S. Grundtvig, Christian Science Hymnal, No. 176)

You and I can be like those pebbles, feeling the flow of God's love washing us gently, fashioning us anew, leaving us shining in His image and likeness. ♦

This article first appeared on

Margaret Watson lives with her husband in their home overlooking a bay near the Lake District in England.

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