A Christian Science perspective.
“And the walls come tumbling down.” Many people may recall the Old Testament story of the battle of Jericho because of that memorable line in the popular spiritual that’s sung about the event. As the Bible records, on the seventh day of the endeavor, the Israelite army, instructed by God, encircled the city seven times and shouted in unison, causing the walls of Jericho to fall.
In their physical aspect, walls can appear formidable, whether we’re on the outside of some situation trying to get in, or inside, trying to get out. Although they’re necessary in the structure of a building, walls can limit, separate, exclude, or even imprison. Mental walls – prejudice, fear, hate, or disdain – also separate people. They can divide by ethnicity, nationality, denomination, economic level, or in other subtler ways.
But as the story of the battle of Jericho indicates, through divinely inspired thought and action, walls can also crumble, dissolve, or prove to be irrelevant as barriers. The Gospel of John indicates that when the disciples were gathered together after Christ Jesus’ resurrection, Jesus entered the room despite the fact that the “doors were shut” (see John 20:19-31). Walls were not a barrier to the risen Christ. How is this relevant today?
Well, for example, recent reports indicate that more and more people are living alone, in other words, separated and compartmentalized from others by walls. In the United States, it’s estimated that approximately one in four people lives alone. In Manhattan, almost one out of every two people currently lives alone.
Some probably feel content with their solitary circumstances; others may feel lonely, wondering how they can transcend the walls – or barriers – which they might feel separate them from others. What does Christian Science teach that could cause the walls that seem to encumber lives to fall or become less circumscribing?
It is the power of God, the one Mind, that gives us the inspiration to transcend whatever walls – physical or mental – might be holding us back, confining, or excluding us. “With my God I can scale any wall,” said King David (II Samuel 22:30, New Living Translation).
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, saw a lesson regarding overcoming walls of limitation in the Jericho story. She noted that unanimity of thought was essential to the success of the Jericho enterprise as it was in the instance when the risen Christ entered the “upper chamber” despite the walls and closed doors. She wrote: “Mark, that in the case of Joshua and his band they had all to shout together in order that the walls might fall; and the disciples, too, were of one mind” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 279).
As each of us gains in the understanding that there is only one Mind and lives out from this Mind, we’ll contribute to the breaking down of those walls of isolation built by the belief in many mortal minds, and free humanity from their obstruction.
To be of one mind means to be conscious that there is no other Mind but God. It means to be aware that each individual is at one with God and therefore not separated from any other idea of God – that there aren’t separate minds in competition with or isolation from each other. Knowledge of this spiritual fact tends to bring one into right relationship, and communication, with others.
This spiritual discernment will help heal any fear of living alone, or feeling of isolation or loneliness, whether this healing is manifested in new companionship or true contentment with spending time alone. Mrs. Eddy wrote that man is not an “isolated idea, for he represents infinite Mind, the sum of all substance” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 259). The realization of this truth will help us transcend walls of encumbrance which try to limit our lives.
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