Suddenly the news had come. After years of active management in a thriving metropolis, my husband and I were to be transferred to an outlying district where we knew no one and where opportunity was a question mark - right back, it would seem, to square one!
We moved, and work started in the new area. But we were resentful. Why us? Why now? Nothing - new acquaintances, locale, church - seemed to have the sparkle or vitality we had left.
As students of Christian Science, we knew that this negative, critical attitude was getting us nowhere. Then, one day as I was praying, I was struck by Peter's comment ''I go a fishing.'' n1 Here was a man who had companioned with Christ Jesus, had witnessed all kinds of marvelous healings, and had even seen the Master triumph over death. Yet after Jesus' crucifixion Peter too may have felt, What now? Was he back where he had started?
n1 John 21:3.
The Gospel of John relates what happened. Peter went fishing and was joined by several other disciples. They fished all night but caught nothing. In the morning Jesus stood on the shore and assured them that if they would cast their nets on the right side of the ship, they would catch fish. They obeyed, and the Bible tells us, ''They were not able to draw it [the net] for the multitude of fishes.'' n2 Later, at that memorable breakfast on the shore, Jesus reminded Peter that genuine love of the Christ was ongoing, and could be expressed only as he would ''feed my sheep''; in other words, share and actively live this love in a practical way.
n2 John 21:6.
Peter may have thought for a time that he was back where he had started as a simple fisherman. But the wonderful experiences he had shared with the Master had moved him far along life's pathway. As he was obedient to Jesus' final instructions, his life took on much fuller dimensions. He preached, he healed, he fed the sheep.
A review of this incident brought the message of Christ, Truth, standing on the shore of our present-day experience. It awakened us to cast our net on the right side. Discouragement, criticism, doubt, and questioning had left our net empty. We too were being commanded to go forward and ''feed my sheep,'' to express the good will, intelligence, and joy that were truly ours as representatives of God. And as we were obedient, as we accepted this truth and began to actively express these qualities, the picture gradually changed. Many avenues opened for constructive activity and rewarding friendships.
In Science and Health with Key to the Scripturesm Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, states: ''In Christian Science there is never a retrograde step, never a return to positions outgrown.'' n3 Because man is spiritual, the very image and likeness of God, the frustrations, confusion, bitterness, and doubts of mortal existence must progressively give way to this truth. And waking up to the reality of our being, we cannot return to an earlier, less enlightened standpoint.
n3 Science and Healthm, p. 74.
Science and Health also declares, ''The starting-point of divine Science is that God, Spirit, is All-in-all, and that there is no other might nor Mind, - that God is Love, and therefore He is divine Principle.'' n4 In God's kingdom there is no square one; there is only the city foursquare, the gates of which open wide to limitless possibilities for good. Standing on this threshold of opportunity, each of us can hear and heed Christ's command ''Feed my sheep,'' and go forward with confidence and joy.
n4 Ibid., p. 275.
DAILY BIBLE VERSE Eye hath not seen, no ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. I Corinthians 2:9