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Commemoration versus recognition

- Living Christian Science Today

“Oh, no! Where did I put . . . ?” We’ve all probably asked ourselves that question. I have. Lots of times! Where did I put that wrench? Where did I put that bag? Where did I put that paperwork?  

Several weeks ago, I discovered that something I’d just bought at a store did not work properly. I looked everywhere for the receipt so that I could take the item back and exchange it. When I gave up on trying to remember where I’d put it, I sat down and began to quiet my thought in prayer. Prayer helps, even when I’m not facing a big issue.

So I asked God, “What do I need to know about this? What do You know?” As I was quietly listening for answers to these two questions, my eye was drawn to a couple of lines in an open book on my desk. The book was The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany by Mary Baker Eddy. The lines were, “Your feast days will not be in commemoration, but in recognition of His presence . . .” (p. 188). At first I wondered what this had to do with my lost receipt, but I looked up the word commemoration and found that it meant remembrance or memory. I also thought about the word recognition

As I thought about the difference between commemoration (remembrance or memory) and recognition, it seemed to me that remembrance brings to thought what was true, while recognition brings to thought what is true. 

I knew that recognition of God’s presence includes all that we need to know. It relates to what is true here and now. It doesn’t dwell on the “good old days” or on regrets or failures of the past, but brings to our thought what is true about our lives and our Life, God, right now. 

This recognition includes and embraces all people, places, and activities that we have known or heard of in the past, to the extent that their goodness has beautifully colored our present centeredness in Love’s care. We can’t be deprived at any moment of recognizing exactly what is true. This spiritual recognition includes all we need to know. Our consciousness of the Christ—God’s qualities expressed here on earth—ensures this!

As I continued to quietly spend time thinking of God’s presence and goodness, I realized that I was carrying some memories of things that had happened long ago, things that I had long since forgiven but not yet forgotten. I knew that I could let go of those memories and move forward in a more progressive line of thought. In Philippians, Paul wrote, “This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (3:13, 14).

This quiet time of peaceful contemplation was a gift from God. I realized that by dwelling on thoughts of the past, good or bad, I was making a graven image in my thought. I certainly didn’t want to be even briefly contemplating or worshipping any graven image. That would break one of the commandments that Moses brought from God (see Exodus 20). I found that I needed to recognize and be grateful for only the good of the present, and that good of the past is revealed and incorporated into the present through God’s constant goodness. What peace!

Having stopped asking, Where did I put my receipt? I asked myself, Where is that receipt now? I knew that my present recognition of divine Mind’s wisdom included everything that I needed to know. Refreshed and uplifted, I got up and walked right to a pile of papers, where I found my receipt, and I was later able to replace the item that wasn’t working. 

What freedom to be able to focus on Love’s blessings, blessings that are meeting our every need at every moment!


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