We Have All Read books and been to movies that leave the story without a complete resolution. It isn't as though the writers got tired and stopped, but rather that they had sufficient confidence in their audience to know that they would resolve the story satisfactorily. After all, if the hero dies, we know that the heroine goes on to complete the hero's work, finds a new life, and so on, don't we?
The Bible has a number of stories that may also seem unfinished. My favorite is that of Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, in the book of Luke (see 10:38—42). The Bible records that Jesus came to Martha's home, and instead of helping her sister serve the meal, Mary sat and listened to what Jesus was teaching. Martha, thinking that she was badly used by her sister, asked Jesus to intercede.
But Jesus knew that Mary was doing the right thing—she was listening to the Christ—so he responded so gently, so lovingly, "Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." And that's where the Bible leaves it. What about Martha? Poor Martha. Would the Christ leave her without help and comfort?
The Christ is the truth of God and man, which lifts burdens, heals the sick, restores the sinning. This truth can come only from God. Science and Health puts it this way: "Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness" (p. 332).
The teachings of Christian Science reveal an important distinction. Jesus was the man—the Saviour—who lived, taught, and healed in Judea, and the Christ is the always present, eternal spiritual ideal Jesus represented. Because Jesus' thought was pure and Godlike, he must have perceived each individual as wholly loved and cared for by the one God, Spirit. This enabled him to heal every condition presented to him, whether it was sickness, blindness, or unhappy family situations, as in Martha's case.
In my short story, Martha returned to the kitchen to finish her work, knowing that God cared for her every need.
Like many women, I identified more with Martha than Mary. I, too, felt "cumbered about much serving," caring for my at-home husband, young children, and mother-in-law. I was a new student of Christian Science and the Bible, and I wanted to be a Mary. I prayed and prayed.
Today, years later, I don't remember the particular circumstances that led me to begin writing a short story (my first since college years) about Mary and Martha. Remaining faithful to the facts as Luke gives them, I embellished around the edges: I gave parents to Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. I added a little history (don't we all have "a little history," which makes our problems seem real and immediate?) and a setting in which the healing could take place.
As the story began to take shape, my thinking started to change. The Christ came to my consciousness! I recognized that Martha's needs were also met and that the Christ comes to each individual in thought as he or she is willing to accept God's loving message.
In my short story, Martha returned to the kitchen to finish her work, knowing she was wholly loved, appreciated, valued, that God cared for her every need. This new perspective allowed the years of resentment and envy to be washed away. In my own experience the healing manifested itself in my arranging to take Primary class instruction, a provision that enables students of Christian Science to gain a more spiritual understanding of God, man, and the universe. In addition, I was also able to have a place and time to study what I was learning of God's love for mankind. My human situation did not change dramatically on the outside, but my attitude about it certainly did.
We don't have to write short stories to learn the deeper spiritual lessons of the Bible, but we do have to consider carefully, prayerfully, every aspect of each inspired Biblical example to see what it has for us individually. The Scriptures are both practical and relevant to today's world. And this makes them—in the words of Science and Health—"our sufficient guide to eternal Life" (p. 497).
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