Lifting the curtain on reality
In addressing members of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, its Founder, Mary Baker Eddy, once said, “Earth’s actors change earth’s scenes; . . . ” (Message to The Mother Church for 1902, p. 17).
“Indeed they do!” I thought, when recently pondering decisions of world leaders that have had harsh knock-on effects for the whole human family.
But it also came to me to read those words in the context of Mrs. Eddy’s message. What a wake-up call! Her words don’t point a finger at what others do but at what spiritual thinkers, such as those she was addressing, could and should do. The entire passage says: “Many sleep who should keep themselves awake and waken the world. Earth’s actors change earth’s scenes; and the curtain of human life should be lifted on reality, on that which outweighs time; on duty done and life perfected, wherein joy is real and fadeless.”
It’s heartening to realize that we each contribute to changing earth’s scenes for the better if we are willing to awaken to what’s spiritually real. When that curtain is lifted, what is revealed is truly wondrous—an endlessly good God governing all creation equitably, and God’s creation, man, including each one of us, being the glorification and expression of that divine all-goodness.
Where the limits of our human life seem so defining, the unlimited reality of Spirit, God, is there, embracing and uplifting the human experience. Spirit’s presence is evidenced wherever kindness, justice, and so on shine through individual and collective thinking and action. This is especially true where the physical senses’ report of what’s real is yielding to a recognition of what Christian Science reveals as our purely spiritual reality.
This yielding to reality occurs when we hear the Christ message voicing divine Truth, God, which Christ Jesus so clearly heard, and with such healing impact. While the consistency with which Jesus perceived and proved Truth was unique, the idea of Truth is universally and ceaselessly conveyed by Christ. Heeding the Christ message uplifts us to behold life in Spirit, God, in whom we “live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
The awakening to this reality is a shift in thought, but not an abstract mental activity. Jesus proved the power of anchoring conviction and action in God’s unbounded goodness, healing physical and mental ills and transforming sinners.
In several instances, including his own resurrection, Jesus also lifted the “curtain” of mortal belief—the belief that we live in matter, subject to mortality—to reveal that Life is God, immortal spiritual good. We catch glorious glimpses of this immortality of God’s nature as we focus on what is true in consciousness. Then the recognition of our higher nature as God’s reflection dawns in thought. This increasingly undermines a false, mortal sense of existence through each healing that results from awakening to the divine reality of our lives.
This truth of Life also exposes as a lie any lethargy that would keep us from seeing how divinity embraces and uplifts human experience, elevating thinking and action. This resistance might play out as the inability to make time for study and prayer; drowsiness that steals away the time we do set aside for God; or the feeling that we “deserve” a brief digital break, which becomes a full-blown binge. But we can refute the seeming reality of such scenarios, which are simply claims of an opposing influence to that of the ever-animating Christ. A lackluster life has neither existence nor the authority to stop us exercising our God-given ability to see the higher view of reality that Christ reveals. It’s God alone who truly exists and asserts authority.
Thinking and acting from this spiritually elevated view of what’s true is also what’s needed in regard to issues that feel far removed from our perceived personal sphere of influence. From her proven grasp of the boundless scope of divine Truth and Christ-healing, Mrs. Eddy concluded, “Right thoughts and deeds are the sovereign remedies for all earth’s woe” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 283). In particular, when those “right thoughts and deeds” result in restoration of physical and mental health, we recognize the universal applicability of the spiritual truths we have grasped and demonstrated.
Mrs. Eddy’s primary text on Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, says of such healings, “They are the sign of Immanuel, or “God with us,”—a divine influence ever present in human consciousness and repeating itself, coming now as was promised aforetime,
To preach deliverance to the captives
And recovering of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty them that are bruised” (p. xi).
This saving influence is always present to enable us to see that all are God’s creation, always awake to Spirit and our real, spiritual identity.
Many of earth’s scenes require a healing response to secure humanity’s progress Spiritward, which in turn sheds light on practical solutions. Lives that lift the curtain on divine reality are key to that response. And in increasingly living such lives, we progress toward “duty done and life perfected” with its reward: unfading spiritual joy.
Tony Lobl, Associate Editor