The illusion fades, but man remains
One summer evening, as I sat in an airport waiting for an incoming flight, I gazed at a mountain range in front of me. It looked gray, uninteresting, unattractive. It wasn't real.
Being familiar with the countrysides, I knew the mountains didn't lie in the direction I was facing. What I was seeing was their reflection on the huge glass windows of the building.
I rose and faced the opposite direction. There they were -- the Rocky Mountains in all their beauty. Their majestic form was outlined by the deepening light; their soft colors were vibrant.
Gazing about us today we might be tempted to believe that misery is the natural state of man and good a fragile occurrence subject to misfortune. But we have Biblical authority for turning away from that picture of man as material , helplessly subject to evil. Isaiah said, "Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?" n1
n1 Isaiah 2:22.
Mary Baker Eddy, Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: "Do you not hear from all mankind of the inperfect model? The world is holding it before your gaze continually." Then she adds, "To remedy this, we must first turn our gaze in the right direction, and then walk that way." n2
n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 248.
Note that the remedy starts with turning our gaze in the right direction. To fasten one's attention on sickness, unhappiness, deformity, or lack, hoping that somehow it will change for the better, is far from the practice of true Christianity.
But turning our gaze doesn't mean ignoring human imperfections. In fact, it was the very lack of beauty in the scene that compelled me to protest by seeking out the true mountains. In Christian Science, one does not ignore a sick body but protests the injustice of the sickness and replaces his fear of it with what he knows to be true of man.
And what is true of man? Where can you and I turn right now? The Bible states that man is made in the image of God. n3 It follows that if God is perfect, His image must be perfect. This spiritual description of man, so simple and direct, is the only true one. Any lesser view of man, regardless of how real it seems, must ultimately be exposed as an illusion of the material senses.
n3 See Genesis 1:26.
Christ Jesus taught and proved the truth of man. He showed his followers then and now that the natural state of man does not include sickness or immorality, and he demonstrated that fact by healing these evils. This pure man , Jesus, must have turned his gaze so consistently away from the imperfect model toward God and His likeness that he could not be deceived by evil, no matter how real it seemed. He say "man" -- man in God's likeness -- and that vision healed.
We, too, can gain the spiritual understanding of man made in God's likeness. Through deep and prayerful study of the Bible and the writings of Mary Baker Eddy -- and through joyful practice of what we learn -- one can become so familiar with God's man that illusive claims of imperfection cannot deceive us. The result now, as in Jesus' time, is healing.
Nothing is lost by turning our gaze in the right direction. On the contrary, all is gained. "When the illusion of sickness or sin tempts you," writes Mrs. Eddy, "cling steadfastly to God and His idea. Allow nothing but His likeness to abide in your thought. . . . Let Christian Science, instead of corporeal sense, support your understanding of being, and this understanding will supplant error with Truth, replace mortality with immortality, and silence discord with harmony." n4
n4 Science and Health,m p. 495.
As I sat in the airport that evening, the reflection of the mountains on the glass began to fade in the deepening shadows until it could no longer be seen at all. Had the mountains disappeared?Of course not. They were only more deeply etched on the horizon. And no matter how dark the night became, they would still be there, unchanged, untouched, beautiful. So it is with man. The illusion fades, but man remains untouched, unchanged, beautiful, forever God's likeness. DAILY BIBLE VERSE O man greatly beloved, fear not. Daniel 10:19