"Children, have ye any meat?"
THE ever present Christ, Truth, is unceasingly calling to poor, lonely, discouraged, sin-sick humanity, "Children, have ye any meat?" Christian Science is teaching mankind how to avail themselves of this invitation, how to partake of the bread of Life and so gain happiness and blessedness. The Apostle John records that it was morning when Christ Jesus addressed the words quoted above to seven of his disciples on the shore of the sea of Tiberius, where the disciples had fished all night and "caught nothing." Three years previous to this these disciples had forsaken their worldly occupations to become followers of the Master and learn of his doctrine. He had taught them how to heal all manner of sickness, destroy false beliefs of lack, and even raise the dead, through the application of God's law of love. They had been actively engaged in this work.
But a season of mental darkness had engulfed them. They had seemed to miss the way when Jesus was no longer with them. The visible means to carry on the great cause must have been meager. They were few in number. The world ridiculed their doctrine. The tasks confronting them must have seemed overwhelming. Responding, perhaps, to false suggestions, they had decided to return to their fishing nets, with complete failure as the result. Yet their mental darkness was of short duration, as it always is to those leaning on divine Love. The foundations they had laid on the rock, Christ, were not to be washed away by a flood of false suggestions. Their honest desires and petitions, their efforts to be more Godlike, had won for them immortal spiritual footholds, from which they could not be dislodged. "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." There on the shore, as the morning sun broke across the rippled waters, stood their dear Master, calling to them with a tenderness and compassion that touched their hearts with unspeakable joy, "Children, have ye any meat?"
A great light had pierced the darkness. Gloom had given place to glory, discouragement to joyous anticipation. The false arguments which had tempted them to forsake Spirit for matter were unmasked, and the disciples were ready to continue the work of ministering to the needy with stronger faith than before.
Christ, Truth, is a great sustaining power, upholding us when we rely on it. We may seem to miss the way for a season, but Christ is ever calling to us, and Christian Science is teaching us how to live in harmony with divine Mind so that we are sure to hear the call: "He who has named the name of Christ, who has virtually accepted the divine claims of Truth and Love in divine Science, is daily departing from evil; and all the wicked endeavors of suppositional demons can never change the current of that life from steadfastly flowing on to God, its divine source." Such are the teachings of Christian Science, as found on page 19 of "Miscellaneous Writings" by Mary Baker Eddy.
What encouragement, what inspiration, are found in that statement! As we are faithful to Truth we are "daily departing from evil." Be our progress slow or fast, each day records a gain. If we have "virtually accepted the divine claims of Truth and Love in divine Science," if we are sincere in following the divine leadings, willing to turn from the husks of materiality to the bread of Life, willing to abandon false beliefs for the truth of being, honest in our desires, and persistent in our efforts to be Godlike, then we have cause for rejoicing, for, regardless of the evidence of the so-called material senses, we are making real progress.
The disciples gained a priceless lesson in the morning light which followed that dark night, for in it came a great spiritual awakening, which lifted their consciousness into a broader, higher view of life and its unlimited possibilities.
They learned the futility of dependence on matter as a sustainer of life or happiness. They learned that departure from the true path brings darkness, doubt, and profitless toil. They gained a victory the radiance of which was to shine on throughout the ages and light the path for others to follow. At heart they had not deserted the cause so dear to them. While they fished in the dark, their innermost natures were crying out to God for light, and light came to them, doubtless in a manner far beyond their fondest expectations. That light diverted them from matter to Spirit, from sense to Soul, from fear to confidence, from seeming lack to abundance. They learned to cast their nets on the right side, to rely wholly on God to direct and bless their human efforts. Here after would be more alert to detect false suggestions and cast them out.
We can but faintly visualize the joy of the meeting on the shore of the lake that morning of long ago. The clouds of doubt and fear rolled away in the sunshine of Love's ever-presence. The quiet, loving voice of the Master asking if they had anything to eat; the tender admonition to cast the net on the right side, with the net soon filled to over-flowing with fishes; the breakfast already prepared on the shore, and the Master's invitation, "Come and dine"–these evidences of Love's presence must have elevated the consciousness of these God-fearing men into a still higher understanding of God and His infinite unchanging love for His children.
Christ is ever calling to us, "Have ye any meat?" What constitutes our daily mental food? We should be sure that we partake only of such food as will ennoble our character and fit us for higher duties. We should accept the invitation of Isaiah, "Eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness." A vast multitude all over the world is finding in the Lesson-Sermons in the Christian Science Quarterly a daily mental food which provides peace, plenty, health, happiness, harmony here and now. The earnest student strives to make a prayerful daily study of the Lesson Sermon, if possible before taking up the work of the day. This study unfolds the spiritual meaning of the Scriptures in all their beauty and helpfulness. It teaches love for God and man, good citizenship, neighborliness, generosity, industry, and fair dealing.
While the disciples fished in the dark, God was right at hand. He was the same loving, tender Father-Mother who had called them, through the Christ, from their nets to become His messengers to a sin-sick world; and His plan for them could not be set aside, for mortal mind cannot pull up what divine Mind has planted. These disciples had a work to do, and having been aroused by their Master's voice they wasted no time on regrets, self-pity, self-condemnation, or resentment, but, having learned the needed lesson, went forth to that work wiser, stronger, more efficient than before.
God has work for each of His children, joyous, profitable work. Christ Jesus fully understood that if he would be about his Father's business he must partake only of such mental food as would fit him for that work. He spent nights in the seclusion of the Mount of Olives, where, undisturbed by the discordant elements of the world, he communed with God and gained inspiration, strength, and guidance for the work of the day following.
Our Leader experienced the spiritual peace and joy that result from keeping thought in communion with divine Mind. On page 133 of "Miscellaneous Writings" she has written, "In the midst of depressing care and labor I turn constantly to divine Love for guidance, and find rest."
If it does not seem easy to keep out of thought false suggestions, we should not be discouraged. The Scriptures imply that Love must and will prevail over hate, and good over evil. The Apostle Paul, who was well qualified to speak on these things, tells us that the results of this warfare are infinitely grand, and beyond the human mind to comprehend. He writes, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."