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Exercising Dominion

IT was a special joy for me when my printer finally accomplished the computer command I had intended it to perform. I hadn't been able to make it print envelopes consistently.

Finally I had turned to God, which I should have done in the first place. As a longtime student of Christian Science, I knew God is Mind, divine intelligence, is Principle, to whom nothing is hidden or even remote. Almost immediately after I had begun to pray for God's guidance, I noticed an obscure direction in the manual and finally understood what the computer was responding to and what I needed to do to change its action.

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The Bible assures us that God gives each one of us-as man, the image of His being-dominion over all the earth. That dominion is an ever-present reality, although we sometimes see only obstacles. Those obstacles are suggestions of mortal mind, however, not the facts of our being. Understanding this clears the way to surmount them and express our God-given dominion.

In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes, ''Entirely separate from the belief and dream of material living, is the Life divine, revealing spiritual understanding and the consciousness of man's dominion over the whole earth'' (p. 14). Acceptance of the reality of this ''Life divine'' leads to the joyous freedom of ''dominion over the whole earth,'' including over computers, ill health, poverty, homelessness-all materially based laws and theories.

Most of us quickly master simple skills like tying shoelaces or riding bicycles, and we thus experience dominion over loose footwear or rolling wheels. But sometimes, either through lack of interest or fear that we can't master a new skill, we refuse to exercise our God-given dominion over tasks we see as more complicated. In performing each task, simple or complex, we can express ongoing dominion.

The Bible records that God made man and then gave him dominion. Genesis puts it this way: ''And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion'' (1:26). That doesn't mean that God gave man authority over God Himself, but that we, as God's image and likeness, reflect His authority in all our earthly experiences.

Jesus Christ consistently demonstrated his dominion. In everything he did, he exercised the dominion that God gives man. Some years ago I witnessed the effects of exercising this dominion in our lives today. A family member was asked to train some temporary help on his assembly line in a large factory. Electricians had been working earlier that day and had failed to replace the electrical box covers. As part of the job's routine, workers used metal dowels to prevent jams from occurring.

After demonstrating the routine, this family member put the rod down as he always had-right on top of the electric box. Immediately he was hurtled some distance across the platform where he was working. Although there was no time to pray consciously, he told us later that he was immediately aware of being enveloped in Love, comforted and supported by God. In a few minutes he was able to let fellow workers know that he was conscious. He was still very much aware of God's encompassing love and recognized the powerlessness of any material circumstance to affect him. By the time electricity was restored and the plant operational, he was able to continue his work, and he finished the twelve-hour shift.

It was certainly a case of dominion, of obedience to spiritual law giving authority over material conditions. Mrs. Eddy explains in Science and Health: ''Obedience to material law prevents full obedience to spiritual law,-the law which overcomes material conditions and puts matter under the feet of Mind'' (p. 182).

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Later that day one of his co-workers came by to see how he was and asked if I had seen the burns on his hand. When he saw for himself that there were, indeed, no burns, he was quite surprised.

Every day offers us fresh opportunities to claim and exercise our dominion, and the joy that accompanies its recognition is exalting.

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