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Heaven at hand

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WHEN I was a child I attended a Protestant Sunday School, and I'll always treasure what I learned there. I learned to love God, to love the Bible stories, and to love good. I also learned by heart the names of the books of the Bible and received a copy of the New Testament as a reward. Happy memories! There was, however, always one thing that troubled me -- heaven and hell. I wondered how good you had to be to get to heaven. Trying to work this out on the school marks system, I thought 70 percent good behavior would be acceptable. But then there would come the dreadful thought of someone who got only 69 percent and went to hell. Instinctively I knew this was not right, and so the problem remained unsolved.

It was not until I was in my teens, when my mother experienced healing through Christian Science and I was enrolled in a Christian Science Sunday School, that gradually an understanding, as well as a feeling, that God is just, began to unfold. Divine justice doesn't save some while condemning others. Everyone, sooner or later, must meet the demands of divine law and thereby experience the God-established reality of heaven at hand. Didn't Jesus say, ``The kingdom of God is within you''?1

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy,2 one of the Biblically based synonyms given for God is Principle, which is frequently linked with another synonym, Love. I began to understand that the divine Principle, Love, must operate for all people impartially. When mistakes occur in our mathematical calculations we don't waste time blaming the rules of math but set to work to find out where we have gone wrong and thereby find the solution. Nor should we blame God, the Principle of the universe, for mistakes in our lives or difficulties in the world. These are not brought about by a vengeful or an uncaring god but, fundamentally, by ignorance of the one God and of His Commandments, and perhaps by an unwillingness to obey His laws because ofthe belief that they are too demanding or impractical for these times.

Christ Jesus' ministry was hundreds of years after the time of Moses, but he never taught or implied that the Commandments had become outdated; rather, he stressed their importance by demonstrating their validity and practicality through his life and works.

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