What a contrast between our Lord’s last supper and his last spiritual breakfast with his disciples in the bright morning hours at the joyful meeting on the shore of the Galilean Sea! His gloom had passed into glory, and his disciples’ grief into repentance, – hearts chastened and pride rebuked. Convinced of the fruitlessness of their toil in the dark and wakened by their Master’s voice, they changed their methods, turned away from material things, and cast their net on the right side.
Mary Baker Eddy
(Science and Health 34:29)
The Lesson Of Easter
By Harold Molter
From the April 1955 issue of The Christian Science Journal
* Photo – Courtesy of allposters.com
In an Easter message to The Mother Church in 1902 Mary Baker Eddy wrote (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 155), “May this glad Easter morn find the members of this dear church having a pure peace, a fresh joy, a clear vision of heaven here,—heaven within us,—and an awakened sense of the risen Christ.” How can we attain and retain the peace, joy, and recognition of the presence of the kingdom of heaven within us? How can we gain a clearer sense of the risen Christ, of the supremacy of Spirit over matter and its false claims?
To accomplish this we may well turn to the prayer of Jesus which was uttered just before his betrayal by Judas Iscariot. In this prayer the Way-shower maintains the fact of his unity with God. And he asks the Father that the same sense of oneness, or unity, with Spirit be given, not only to his followers, but also to all who accept their testimony of his teachings.
Jesus showed us that the only true security, as well as the basis of all health and success, lies in our individual demonstration of man’s oneness with God. He proved in his daily living that this unity or at-one-ment with divine Love is attained through spiritualization of thought. Each one enters individually into the joy and glory of the kingdom of heaven as he grows into the character and nature of the Christ, the Son of God.
The Easter season affords every Christian Scientist an opportunity to examine his thoughts in order to learn whether his affections lie with Spirit or with matter. The Easter message challenges us all to resolve to rise higher in the demonstration of man’s rich inheritance as the son of God. In doing this we not only bless ourselves but also our neighbor, as Jesus did. Wherever he went, blessings abounded.
Referring to the nature of spiritual power and unity, Mrs. Eddy writes (ibid., p. 162): “Strength is in man, not in muscles; unity and power are not in atom or in dust. A small group of wise thinkers is better than a wilderness of dullards and stronger than the might of empires.” She adds that unity is seen in spiritual cooperation and in working heart to heart. To one of her classes she said that if those present were of one Mind, they would have the power to reform the world.
These thoughts on the demonstration of spiritual unity and power are of great importance to Christian Scientists, especially in their branch church activities. Christian Scientists know that their religion is the final revelation to the world of the truth concerning God and His creation. Through the divine influence of this truth, loved and practiced, men and nations can find permanent health, success, and peace. This throws upon every Christian Scientist the responsibility of helping to establish unity and co-operation in church activities, as well as in all daily living.
The basic responsibility of each church member is to grow in grace—in Christlikeness—thus demonstrating man’s oneness with God. Writing to the Christian Science churches in Chicago of the great power of unity expressed by them, Mrs. Eddy refers to it as a phoenix fire which guards and guides them. And, again, she designates it as “living love” (see Miscellany, p. 164). It is this “living love”—Love lived—healing, blessing, and reaching out to all mankind which truly characterized every event of Jesus’ career. And this love will enable our churches to become more and more a mighty power for good as the individual members yield to the Christ in their daily living and in their church activities.
The fact that Christian Scientists are all at different stages of growth calls for unselfed love, patience, and forbearance in their church relationships. They have all caught a glimpse of the unity which exists between God and His idea. But as our Leader writes, some are slower than others in the demonstration of the “living love,” which is the proof of man’s at-one-ment with God. It should be remembered that Jesus demonstrated great patience with the disciples in his association with them. Although he knew that Judas would betray him, he still indicated that he loved Judas.
That which unites individuals and groups is the power of self-forgetfulness, of a love that never ceases to reflect divine Love. The command of the Master that we love one another does not mean that we need to agree with every statement which others utter. But it does mean that we should be willing to listen to what they say and to wait and pray for an increasing sense of “living love” in ourselves and in others.
Our Leader tells us that we may safely condemn error as error, but that we should seldom, if ever, condemn persons. And she adds (ibid., p. 249): “Improve every opportunity to correct sin through your own perfectness. When error strives to be heard above Truth, let the ‘still small voice’ produce God’s phenomena.”
The silent rebuke of Christlike thought is the most potent. Love lived, as Jesus lived it, in works as well as in words, not only rebukes error, but also blesses men and inspires them to work toward higher ideals. To withhold unjust criticism and to work with those in a group or in church who stand for thought and action based on the recognition and proof of man’s unity with God is to bring harmony into church activities and human relations.
How grateful we should be for Jesus’ demonstration of man’s oneness with divine Love! His manifestation of “living love” enabled the Way-shower to pass unscathed through the experience of the cross and the tomb and to rise into the eternal enjoyment and activity of his true identity and usefulness as the Son of God. At this Easter season may we enjoy the blessing which Jesus asked the Father to bestow on all who accept him as the Way-shower. He prayed ( John 17:22, 23), “The glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one.”