Nothing speaks so loudly about your autonomy, safety and independence as the spirituality of your being. Spirit is the key feature of Good, Spirit is substance and power and action - it is gently expressed in integrity, a sense of compassion and mercy, vitality, resilience, strength, unselfishness, consecration to good, patience, an adventurous spirit, an attitude which values flexibility over old routines.
I feel that the way we progress from a restricted and harsh sense of life to an enlarged and kind view of Life being inclusive and whole entirely, a parable from the Bible helps. I find this parable so encouraging because it invites to take care of ourselves and others and accept the glorious independence and freedom which God grants to each one of us. How many people have a sense that their lives are somehow not free and independent? How many people have the feeling that their experience is determined by others? Here is the parable for all of us:
“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming;go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’
But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.'"
(from Matthew 25. NKJV)
This parable encourages me to be ready. It tells me to feel the immediacy of spiritual understanding - as represented by the bridegroom - and to be as ready as a virgin would be, who had been asked beforehand to participate in a wedding celebration, who had been included and entrusted with an important task and who had been hired to light the bridegroom the way to the wedding.
The parable is also about ownership: There is a difference between what you truly own - what you hold dear, what you possess - or what you simply just "buy", there is a difference between knowing the matters of the Spirit firsthand yourself or trying to link your own destiny to someone else. You could say: There is a difference between putting spirituality into practice and putting the word "spirituality" into Google.
The wider implications of this parable were proven to be true by Zoë and me last weekend. I had the great honor to speak at the Charton Manor Open House. Zoë was invited, too, and we travelled together from Berlin to London to Kent and back. There was probably not one obstacle that wasn't thrown in our way, from blocked roads to delayed to cancelled trains, from diverted routes to chaotic traffic jams. Only Charton Manor and its commitment to good were a haven of light, mental wellness and peace.
Weeks before Zoë had alerted me to include in our mental preparation the atmosphere in London - a city that seems to be having a little bit of a fever right now. Terrorism, Post-Brexit effects, small world thinking - all this so foreign to a country which stood for centuries as a beacon of reason, learning, invention and inclusion. We relied on Principle, good, to encourage integrity and honesty, to create an atmosphere of reason and wisdom. We let Principle coordinate our travel plan and every individual other plan, let Principle help us focus on what is right, maintain safety and order everywhere, all the time, and be present for everyone. Principle surely unites everyone to a common cause and to good motives. Principle links us to every resource we might need. It correlates, relating one idea to another in perfect authority. The stabilizing effect of Principle is the basis for every action going on in the realm of the real - our true world. There is no way a nervous surrounding can rob your peace which is truly divine. Principle rules.
You could say: Here were two virgins on the go with their lamps filled with oil. We shared the light (knowing that is not possible, even if you want to, to share your oil) abundantly, and the result was astonishing: Not only a sense of peace and love enveloping us, but everyone else. Prayers are universal. We had beautiful encounters and support at every turn. When we finally reached the airport for our flight home and were informed about another three hour delay with the possibility of staying at the airport all together, Principle brought us a sense of peace and clarity. Not heeding the announcement of the airline to stick around and stay tuned, we heeded the announcement of Principle. We found ourselves in an elegant restaurant with a view of the runway - and a pilot joining us eventually. A pilot from our airline. He volunteered to inform us about our flight, showed us on his phone where our plane was at any given moment, shared insights into the art of flying, and finally pointed to the sky saying: Here is your airplane coming.
We spent the waiting hours with fresh Japanese soups and vegetables, a glorious sunset, and a true gentleman fluent in German and English, who walked us finally to the gateway with a shortcut, before the official announcement came. When we finally fell asleep around 3:30 am, we fell asleep grateful and with joy in our hearts. We keep our lamps trimmed and the light burning. We continue to increase our oil supply. For it is only "... in Thy light shall we see light." (Psalm 36: 9)
Recently I had the great honor of being invited to speak about my profession at the Lions’ Club in my city, with the intimidating name “Albert Einstein”. Lions' Club International is a secular, non-political service organization founded in 1917 and operating today in about 200 countries. The aim is to meet the needs of communities on the local and global level. This invitation was the result of my sharing something about the Christian Science Practice during a business meeting, and the context of the Christian Science Practice being a service for humanity got me the invitation, I think. It was for me the second invitation to present my profession outside the Christian Science network - and the first time that Christian Science was presented to the Lions' Club in Berlin.
As a speaker I have found it helpful for everybody to eliminate the greatest obstacle right up front and tackle the biggest question in the minds of the audience quickly, so that everybody is then free to join in the topic. Talking in public is sharing, and as with individual talks, you deal with what's hard or difficult to grasp first. The Christian Science practice is entirely built on a power that has no place in the secular context: God. But it is the one and only basis for the profession. Christian Science practice works entirely with the reality, presence, and power of God and puts divine law into action, and this is a premise that is not up for debate or ever can be. You can compare this to a lawyer presenting her profession - and not needing to argue for the fact that there is something like "law" in the first place. So I jumped right in and invited everyone to join in me in accepting that there is a supremely good intelligence which is operating beyond the five senses, but tangible to spiritual sense in all of us. The higher law of the universe, divine Principle. God not being just good as an adjective: God is Good itself.
It is so natural to Christian Science to start with Good, to move along with Good and to stay in Good all the way through. I felt so natural then to start my presentation for the Club members from the same basic premise – that Good, God, is the basis of everything. I had prepared little cards with the definition of “Good” from the Christian Science textbook, which I put in front of each individual present. Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, in the glossary in the back of her book (p. 587):
“Good. God; Spirit; omnipotence; omniscience; omnipresence; omni-action."
Good is real and Good is here. This is the unquestioned and wonderful truth of our being, which Mary Baker Eddy discovered, and it is quite easy to get a true feel for the goodness and potential of man by looking at man from the perspective of God, Good. When your experience needs an upgrade in goodness, which we all do quite often, the prayerful work that moves us forward has been outlined by Paul in his letter to the Romans (12:2):
“Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.”
I shared Paul’s counsel with the club members in a contemporary translation. Good is the will of God, but we need transformation. What do you see when you are willing to be transformed by Good itself? What do you see when you look at your fellow man from the basis of infinite goodness?
That night at the Lions’ Club I saw dedication, integrity, potential, compassion, and joy. You and I will see something of this Good today, too. There is no end to experiencing the fullness of Good, every day. Because Good is God.
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.
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