After receiving a phone call telling me that someone precious to me had died, I was devastated. In my grief I opened my heart to God in prayer and asked for help dealing with this overwhelming sense of loss. Comfort came in the most gentle, tender, and unusual way.
The message was, “Think about a Beethoven symphony.” My next thought was, “What does that have to do with death?” As I thought about this question, I recalled that Ludwig van Beethoven’s hearing had increasingly deteriorated until he was profoundly deaf. It’s been said that he spoke of “hearing” his compositions and simply writing down what he “heard”—like a musical scribe of sorts. From that standpoint, his symphonies have always existed independently of the material condition.
I’ve found this to be a helpful analogy for an important spiritual truth: God’s spiritual creations, which include each of us, have always existed independently of a humanly discernible presence. The thing I took from this moment of prayer was that in a way, my friend—and in fact everyone—can be seen as a symphony: without beginning and without end.
As I was growing up, I had many questions about life. I wondered if we were here for just a moment in eternity, or if life was more than what is presented by the mortal span between birth and death. When I began the study of Christian Science, I learned that life is eternal. Among other biblical references to life beyond the grave is the one of Christ Jesus’ resurrection to life after spending three days in the tomb.
Divine Life is eternal, ever present, and good.
Jesus’ proof of eternal life points to the possibilities for all of us. This statement from John’s Gospel has helped me further understand the spiritual fact of eternal life: “If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death” (John 8:51). From her study of the Bible, Mary Baker Eddy saw that Life is a synonym for God. She recognized that divine Life is eternal, ever present, and good. As God’s spiritual creation, man (meaning each of us) therefore includes all the qualities of Life. Mrs. Eddy’s book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures states, “Life, God, omnipotent good, deny death, evil, sin, disease” (p. 113).
Understanding these spiritual facts, even just a little, can really be comforting when we are confronted with evidence of death. These ideas of God as eternal Life and our inseparability from Life helped me as I prayed about my friend’s passing. It was both a comfort and a relief to realize that her “symphony,” her true, spiritual identity, would always exist even though I couldn’t see her anymore.
These ideas helped me as I prayed about my friend’s passing.
My tears dried as I glimpsed the fact of eternal life and of God’s ongoing sustenance of His creation, man. I came to see that this spiritual reality included the friend I thought I had lost.
From this I learned two important lessons. First, even when we are facing a difficult moment in our lives, God is there to supply us with the comfort that we need. When we ask God for help, our needs will be met. That day, I gained confidence and trust in the truth that God has only good in store for my friend, and each of us, at every moment.
At the same time, I realized that God’s love for me included the assurance that I could not be separated from Life and its goodness, including all the joy my friend and I had shared.
Thinking of man as a “symphony” that has always existed and always will exist was a landmark moment in my spiritual growth. It has made it easier to deal with what has seemed to be loss, and to find healing when faced with grief.
As I watch what is happening in the world and hear about the loss of life that occurs daily, I am comforted by knowing that man’s destiny is to express eternal Life. At the same time, I pray for those who have lost loved ones, and I know their tears can be wiped away, their hearts healed, and their hope restored. Each one can experience the healing of grief through the comforting touch of the loving and tender God who is eternal Life—and created us as Life’s eternal reflection.
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