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Individual rainbows

THE large lush lawn had more than a dozen water sprinklers -- the type that gives out a fine spray spreading about three feet high and wide.Walking along the sidewalk, I hardly noticed the spray; I was absorbed in my own thoughts, which were not especially lush -- in fact they would be better described as dry and withering. My life at that point felt more parched than lush, and I was not doing very well in dealing with the situation. I had been trying to pray, since I was sure that the deeper sense of God's presence gained through prayer brings adjustment to human affairs. For many years, actually, my own experience has shown how dark days can be literally lightened up -- specific disease destroyed, stubborn fear and self-righteousness wiped out -- through consistent, deeply felt prayer. And I knew that trying to live with meekness and love in the way taught by Christ Jesus is itself a form of prayer that helps bring to light the truth of man as God's spiritual likeness, always blessed, never limited.

A passage from the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, had always seemed to me an accurate description of this effect, especially in our own family's experience: ``In Christian Science, progress is demonstration, not doctrine. This Science is ameliorative and regenerative, delivering mankind from all error through the light and love of Truth. It gives to the race loftier desires and new possibilities.''1

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And yet here I was, down, discouraged, and decidedly not aware of any rewards coming along to fulfill my desires. But I had continued to pray. It was natural to try to resist the absorption in dark prospects and to turn to the light of spiritual truths.

This day a simple thought brought relief. As I glanced across the lawn being watered by sprinklers, I saw that the sunlight, caught by two rows of the misty circles, was producing individual rainbows. I counted eight. As I walked on, the angle of my view changed, but as this happened the rainbows simply moved along too. The rainbows appeared again and again, row by row. It was just beautiful. Individual rainbows, rising up from the sprinklers' mist, each one complete and gorgeous.

I stopped and looked around to see if anyone else had noticed, but I was alone in that garden of rainbows. Then a metaphor occurred to me. Just as the refraction of light produces exquisite, individual rainbows, so the divine radiance (God's light) creates individual beauty and symmetry in our lives. Recalling the rainbow as Biblical imagery for God's promise (in the story of Noah, for instance), I let this scene symbolize God's promise and presence to meet my need. Beauty and completeness are as much properties of man made in the likeness of God as the full spectrum of colors is a property of every rainbow.

By the time I reached my destination the awesome gloom had lifted. In the next few hours I received a telephone call from someone who wanted to include me in some interesting work. An annoying physical pain had dropped away. Most important, a good deal of the weight of a specific fear had lifted.

It was fun later on to look up references in the Bible that -- like water sprinklers -- had been familiar to me but never before quite so colorful. For instance: ``And God said...I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth....And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh....''2 And this one: ``Delight the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart....And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.''3

When I need a reminder of the individual nature of God's care and love, I sometimes think back on the metaphor of all those individual rainbows and the remarkable power of divine light.

1Miscellaneous Writings, p. 235. 2Genesis 9:12, 13, 15. 3Psalms 37:4, 6.

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You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: God is the Lord, which hath shewed us light....O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good. Psalms 118:27,29

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