"Drink ye all of it"
The commands which Christ Jesus gave to his disciples were meant not for them and for their time alone; they were for all. The ability which was implied—for back of every Christ-command is the power to fulfill it—always accompanied and supported it. He made no demand upon his followers which, as their Way-shower, he had not first fulfilled. He showed ever in demonstration its present possibility for those who, as he did, understood and obeyed the divine will. "Drink ye all of it," he said of the communion cup. What was this cup they were to drink, and what did its drinking entail?
On page 35 of the textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mrs. Eddy writes: "Our cup is the cross. Our wine the inspiration of Love, the draught our Master drank and commended to his followers."
Does our cup sometimes seem heavy to us; does the drinking of it promise not joy but sorrow, dangers, difficulties, and temptations? Then let us remember that within it, within this cup, is the wine of inspiration; that here for us is the very vehicle of communion with Spirit which will do for us what it did for our Master. Through it are the means of overcoming, bringing to us power, the assurance of victory.
Are we tempted to lift the cup, take a few sips, and then, feeling the demand is too great, the sacrifices too heavy, set it down? Yet we must be obedient. Only in drinking all of it shall we awaken out of the mesmerism which clings still to cherished reservations of fears or longings; shall we know resurrection from materiality, the consciousness of Spirit's supremacy, which the Christ reveals.
"The promises will be fulfilled," our Leader tells us on page 55 of the textbook. "The time for the reappearing of the divine healing is throughout all time; and whosoever layeth his earthly all on the altar of divine Science, drinketh of Christ's cup now, and is endued with the spirit and power of Christian healing." This then is what is implied by taking up the cross, by obeying the Master's command, "Drink ye all of it."
To lay every earthly treasure on the altar of divine Science does not, in the light of Truth, mean sacrifice; it means deliverance. It means that in the place of the temporal, the uncertain, the sorrow-bearing, there will come forth the eternal, the reliable, the joyous. In the fullness, the allness, of our relinquishment of the vulnerable and illusive, we find the Spirit and power which spell Life. In the losing there is the finding, even as Jesus promised it should be.
The being willing to lay our mortal possessions, our ambitions and desires, yea, even our affections, on the altar of Science, where nothing that is true or real will ever be sacrificed, but only the worthless and unreal, must bring with it strength and peace, the healing of all our selfishnesses and fears. Christ Jesus asked of men nothing that in the doing of it would not bring recompense incalculably greater than that which they were called upon to relinquish.
Those who in these years of conflict and endurance may have had to sacrifice sometimes everything that they humanly possessed and have understood that this was not loss but gain, not failure but the open way to victory, have taken up the cup and found the inspiration, the understanding, of spiritual communion which no accumulated worldly ownership ever brought to them.
Whatever the cross, they have learned it can be taken up; whatever the seeming weight of the cup, it is actually never too heavy for us to lift it. The wine within will sustain and revive us. He who directs his life according to divine Science will not fear. He will know that this is the way of Spirit, the way of power, which turns every experience into victory; which finds in every opportunity a means for overcoming.
On page 211 of "Miscellaneous Writings" Mrs. Eddy writes: "Our Master said, 'Ye shall drink indeed of my cup.' Jesus stormed sin in its citadels and kept peace with God. He drank this cup giving thanks, and he said to his followers, 'Drink ye all of it,'—drink it all, and let all drink of it."
Christian Scientists understand why thanksgiving and sacrament go hand in hand. In drinking the cup which Christ Jesus commended to his followers, they find, even amidst conflict, even in the midst of warfare, that this peace, because it is of and with God, has not been disturbed. They learn and prove in ever-growing confidence, that what men obey, and in obeying commemorate, is not the death or destruction of anything that is of value, but the eternal elimination of that which wars against God. What Jesus did for humanity in his own progressive overcoming of evil, what he called upon it to do for itself, is to be seen not in the light of loss but of gain; not in the evidence of human hatred but in the inspiration of divine Love.
The relinquishment of the all of mortal selfhood, that we may drink of Christ's cup now—how swiftly and eagerly men will undertake it as they learn that this alone is the way out of fear and sorrow, out of disease and death; this is the way into the spirit of power, of Truth.
"Fear not, little flock," Jesus said to his followers; "for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." This kingdom is ours to possess, and in the consciousness of this inner sovereignty, which no mortal thought can challenge or invade, the cup of sorrows disappears. In its place is the wine of inspiration, of spiritual understanding, the eternal awareness of communion, the at-one-ment with Truth and Love.
Evelyn F. Heywood