Most often, the beginning and the ending tell you a lot about the scope and intent of everything in between. This is true for literature, art, and music, it is true for projects, endeavors, your days. The first words - or actions - set the tone whereas the last words - or actions - shape the memory and outline the legacy and impact.
When studying in depth the gospel of John, I took note of the first and the last words, Christ Jesus is speaking. I was being aware of the opening lines as the first moments in his public ministry, his appearance on the scene of the human condition and his last words.
The very first words we hear from Jesus are "Come and see". (John 1: 39). It is a reply to two men how have heard from John the Baptist that Jesus is the Messiah, the promised Savior of the world. And what a Savior! I find it humbling that the first words are a response, not the initiative. Jesus, I am reading in these last words, was foremost an outstanding listener, and the beginning of this gospel hints at this important quality. It is meeting a need - and even the need to understand where he is staying - right from the outset.
The entire gospel of John is unlike the other - its focus is a look into the soul and heart of the Christ. Compared to the other gospels, only a few healings are reported, all in all seven reports of what the Bible calls miracles - including turning water into wine - but they are reported in so much detail, explanation and depth that one learns so much about the Christ, God's communication of power and love with humanity. The gospel of John gives for each opposing narrative to the true status of man as God's dignified and valued man an example, in such a way, that we find ourselves in these reports and move forward. I wonder whether "come and see" echoes Jesus' first hand knowledge of the Psalms telling us to "Come and see the works of God." (Psalms 66: 5)
What a simple invitation to simply get moving and see for ourselves, too. "Come and see" has morphed into something like a daily reminder to not stay where I seem to be at a certain point but to move and see for myself, that is to experience for myself, where the Christ is - this power of God active in our life and experience, ready to stand by us, with us, for us.
When you read through the gospel of John and finally reach the final chapter to catch Jesus' last words, you will find them equally to the point. They are a call, an assignment, and an invitation at the same time. The words are "follow thou me." (John 21: 22) I am hearing the echo of the famous 23rd Psalm here: "Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." (Psalm 23: 6) We follow the lead of goodness, fairness, peace and we are being followed by goodness and mercy every day. "Follow thou me."
Someone said that Jesus spent his entire life making people happy. We all can certainly know how special a day of "come and see" feels and plays out in our experience. A day of expressing Christlike qualities, of "coming and seeing" for ourselves and caring deeply about humanity's needs, so much so, that our own needs pale in comparison and are being met abundantly by divine Love itself. Love applauds unselfishness without exception. So between "come and see" and "follow thou me" is enough space for a whole life to unfold, and this life is here today - with a safe, beautiful frame to embrace infinite good.
Here is a report about the practical application of the healing laws this blog post is speaking about.
A funny cartoon from my little collection of wisdom in comics is condensing something most of us understand right away: Newness is thrilling and original, but we want it to be tested and somehow feeling like something we already know. And that makes it, well, not new.
"New" has many wonderful definitions: It is something that is not old and not even refurbished (“as good as new” is not “new”), something that is in existence in now and hasn't been before, it is something that has been known only for a short time, something unfamiliar (like a new place), something that was recently built (the new library), something different than the former (like a new car), a condition (starting a new job), something like becoming fresh (being a new person) or like having recently become (being the new wife or son-in-law). New has a different origin than renovated old.
We feel when something is only patched up, overhauled or revamped as opposed to being really new. New has a different origin. New is fresh and direct. New is promising. My mother once mentioned that in most parts of the world, already 20 inches away from a drinking water fountain streaming out of a mountain, the water quality is already slightly altered. The difference between the source and something drawn from it at even a slight distance is measurable.
Paul describes in different letters the newness of life in Christ, 100% good: "...be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness," he writes to the Ephesians. The real new is and always will be the spiritual - original, fresh, revealed to spiritual sense, embodied by a pure heart, and the love that is truly unselfed. In Retrospection and Introspection Mary Baker Eddy writes (pp. 27, 28), "The divine hand led me into a new world of light and Life, a fresh universe—old to God, but new to His 'little one.'" And in Science and Health we read: "So far as the scientific statement as to man is understood, it can be proved and will bring to light the true reflection of God— the real man, or the new man (as St. Paul has it). (p. 300)
Science and Health is a book that is so shockingly revolutionary and innovative that people have been either rejecting it altogether or soaked it up like a sponge and made its approach their way of life. The book challenges everything we seem to know and experience and teaches us all about Spirit, it lets us discover timeless Truth in the Bible and put them into practice right away. The Bible is important because it is the only book on the planet talking about the spirituality of God and man and the only book giving to humanity to life and works of Christ Jesus, the one individual that brought this understanding to humanity. The last 100 pages are reports of healing which have been handpicked by the author to illustrate certain aspects of the effect of Christian Science. Every single report testifies to the newness of Life. Really new, not patched up. I go back to those pages often to learn more about progress and healing, and about the book itself.
One of my favorite reports of healing is by someone with an extraordinary sense of humility and with the wonderful ability to write in such a poetic way that it reaches the heart. It is difficult to forget this report once you read it. With this report I am wishing you a wonderful new year - as "new thoughts of God reveal our heaven" (as hymn #140 says).
From the chapter „Fruitage“ in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, p. 621, 622)
For fifteen years I was a great sufferer physically and mentally. Eminent physicians treated me for hereditary consumption, torpid liver, and many other diseases. I sought relief at famous springs, the ozone of Florida, and the pure air of Colorado, but in vain. My life was one ceaseless torture. During all this time, however, I was an earnest seeker after Truth. I examined every religious teaching with a calm and unprejudiced attention. From an orthodox Protestant I became a skeptic, and a follower of Voltaire, Tom Paine, and Ingersoll; yet all the while I retained faith in a supreme intelligent Being who made all.
Sick,weary, doubting, and despairing, I accidentally went into a Christian Science church in New York City, on a Wednesday evening, not knowing what kind of a place it was. Seeing a large number of people going into the building, I followed, supposing that a marriage ceremony had attracted the crowd. Being informed it was their regular Wednesday evening service, I inquired as to the denomination. I concluded that it was another new fad, but after investigation I procured a copy of Science and Health, promising I would read it carefully. I began reading the book on Tuesday and finished on Friday of the same week. I was still in the dark. I laid the book down, involuntarily closed my eyes, and silently prayed to God.
I remained in that attitude a few moments, when I felt like the mariner who had been tossed for days upon a boisterous sea, the clouds bending low, the billows rolling high, all nature wrapped in darkness; in his despair he kneels and commits his soul to God, when he suddenly beholds the North Star breaking through the clouds, enabling him to guide his ship to the shores of safety. Many things were made plain to me. I saw that there is one Fatherhood of God and one brotherhood of man; that though "once I was blind, now I see;" that there was no more pain, nor aches, no fear, nor indigestion. I slept that night like a babe and awoke next morning refreshed. There are now no traces whatever of my former complaint and I feel like a new being.
— L. P., New York, N. Y.
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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