‘Let your light so shine’: Be a transparency for Truth
The idea of light is used throughout the Bible to describe God’s ever-present goodness and our expression of that goodness. Christ Jesus said, “Ye are the light of the world,” and, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14, 16). In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, we learn that God is good; God is Love; God is all-powerful; and God is All-in-all. We also learn that at all times we are God’s manifestation and reflection. That is true because God, our source of being, is always shining brightly, and as His manifestation, we can’t help but be the reflection of that light.
So why does it sometimes feel to us in this human experience as if the light of God’s goodness is dim and far away? A realization I had at a play I recently attended helped clarify this for me. While watching the play, I noticed how the spotlight, which in its normal use brought light and attention to the action, was being used in different ways to enhance the production. For instance, if the scene being portrayed was set at night, the operator would attach a colored filter to the front of the spotlight. This would change the normally bright white light into a cool shade of blue. At another point in the production a red filter was inserted to enhance the scene with the warm red color of a sunset.
The light of God, divine Truth, is unchanging and shines brightly.
The way these filters changed how the light was seen reminded me of a passage in Science and Health: “The manifestation of God through mortals is as light passing through the window-pane.… The mortal mind through which Truth appears most vividly is that one which has lost much materiality—much error—in order to become a better transparency for Truth. Then, like a cloud melting into thin vapor, it no longer hides the sun” (p. 295). From this it can be inferred that, conversely, it is the materiality we allow into our thought that hides the light of God’s goodness from us.
The light of God, divine Truth, is unchanging and shines brightly, but our consciousness of Truth is in proportion to the spirituality of our thought. Like the colored filters that obscure the light of the spotlight, materiality in all its forms—whether it be preoccupation with physical appearance, other concerns about the body, or fear, anger, hate, jealousy, sensuousness, etc.—keeps the ever-present divine light from shining in us and through us.
So how do we make sure divine light shines through us brightly? Doing and being good, thinking and acting rightly, and protecting the purity of our thought are good places to start. Also, seeking to spiritually understand God and to express spiritual qualities, are sure ways of spiritualizing our thought, which lets the light of Truth shine through us to destroy materialistic thinking.
Of course, the best example of being a transparency for Truth is Christ Jesus, who demonstrated the radical understanding that “there is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter” (Science and Health, p. 468). This understanding not only brought God’s unfiltered light to humanity, but it also healed the sick and raised the dead in direct opposition to the beliefs of materiality.
Another example of this divine transparency is Mary Baker Eddy, a devout follower of Christ Jesus, whose deep spirituality allowed her to peel away the layers of theology and materiality that had dimmed humanity’s understanding of Christ’s Christianity. She discovered the divine Science of Christ—the eternal truths taught and demonstrated by Jesus—and called it Christian Science.
Christian Science shows us the way out of materiality through spiritual understanding. We learn that divine Spirit is the only cause and creator, and that each one of us is made in Spirit’s image and likeness. These truths help us rise above the host of alternative creation stories we are confronted with daily, stories based on the belief that matter is real and substantial.
The most prevalent alternative creation story is a material birth story, which, if believed, leads in various paths to a generally accepted cycle of growth, maturity, decay, and eventually death. Belief in the story of life in matter is behind all sorts of “colored filters,” such as heredity, chance, contagion, and the power of disease. Grounding ourselves in the knowledge of God as the one and only creator, whose creation is entirely spiritual and perfect, enables us to see through the illusive and untrue beliefs about creation and cast out of our consciousness the errors that stem from these beliefs.
Recently these ideas helped me to properly think about and overcome grief and fear. Within a short period of time, both of my parents passed away. I’d worked with both of them closely in the same business for over twenty years, and I’d always had a very positive and fulfilling relationship with them both. After they were gone, I found myself missing their daily input and encouragement. I was also tempted to feel fearful that the business we had together wouldn’t continue to prosper.
I knew that letting the dark “filters” of grief and fear into my consciousness was only going to darken my thought and keep me from being a clear transparency for Truth. When I was confronted with these types of thoughts, it helped to think of the spotlight analogy. I knew that God’s light was still as strong as ever; nothing had changed with my true Father-Mother. I also knew that grief and fear don’t come from God since He supplies only good.
As I learned more about my unchanging relation to God, the thoughts of grief and fear lost their supposed reality and power in my thought. Instead of missing something or someone, I realized that with God as my Father-Mother, I lacked nothing, was always cared for, and each need was already met. I was able to move on with my life happily, without grief or fear.
Becoming a better transparency for Truth is a continuous and sweet demand. As we do this, we see more and more how the real, spiritual man is infinitely above materiality. As Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health: “Continuing our definition of man, let us remember that harmonious and immortal man has existed forever, and is always beyond and above the mortal illusion of any life, substance, and intelligence as existent in matter” (p. 302).
When we rise above materiality and release all that does not inherently belong to our spiritual, Godlike nature, we realize our current perfection and find that we are shining as clear transparencies for God. Our true selves are revealed.