The way to be lifted up
WHEN you're down, there's nothing better than being lifted up. That's surely one of the reasons why Christ Jesus has remained such an inspiration for centuries. Regardless of all of the theological and psychological theories that people have developed in connection with Jesus' life, at the very heart of his life story is the resurrection. That uplifting of faith and hope and life, when all seemed lost, is a promise that shines brighter than solar light. This promise, resurrection, in which Life overcomes death and Love overcomes hate, ignorance, and prejudice, came through crucifixion. That's the hard part of resurrection, to put it mildly. Jesus tried to explain the whole event to his closest students -- his arrest, trial, humiliation, and execution -- but they could not bear it all. They had seen wonderful things spring from the life of this prophet, healer, and teacher. His questions cut to the core of human thought. The disciples could feel through his teachings the flow of a reform movement that was giving new hope to weary multitudes. Bodies imprisoned, sometimes from birth, by mishap or disease were restored. And, of course, there is much more, as the Gospels record.
But when Jesus faced the crucifixion, this was more than the disciples' faint understanding of what lay behind the healing and redemptive acts could grasp. Yet it was that ``hard part'' followed by the resurrection that alone was able to help the disciples make the final link between their new faith and their own ability togo forth and ``do...likewise''1 when the Master was no longer personally present.
The deep lessons of the crucifixion were essential, unavoidable in the disciples' spiritual education. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ``The efficacy of the crucifixion lay in the practical affection and goodness it demonstrated for mankind. The truth had been lived among men; but until they saw that it enabled their Master to triumph over the grave, his own disciples could not admit such an event to be possible. Afterthe resurrection, even the unbelieving Thomas was forced to acknowledge how complete was the great proof of Truth and Love.''2
Up until the crucifixion and resurrection, the receptive human mind was moved to profound awe at the healings and miracles that had taken place through this man named Jesus. But one can still see that the human mind, the human intellect of even good men and women, had yet to rise above its own sense of what these events meant.
The crucifixion and resurrection, to some degree at least, broke the hold that mortal thinking had upon those students of Jesus who were striving to comprehend the nature of God and of man as the Son of God. The ``practical affection and goodness'' demonstrated by the crucifixion so far outpaced the disciples' earlier views and convictions of what Truth and Love were that they had to break loose from the limited, material bases of their lives in order to follow Jesus' example. In the crucifixion, in the magnitude of Christ Jesus' sacrifice of the material for the spiritual, new birth was made possible to men and women; they saw what it meant to be the child of God. The words of Job rang clearly in their lives: ``I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.''3 They finally glimpsed the allness of divine Love and saw what the image of Love really was as lived by Jesus.
Today any sincere student of the Science of Christ will come to experience a similar rebirth as the divine Love he expresses through his own crucifying experiences breaks the hold of the human mind's faith in matter and material personality. Christian Science upholds the Bible teaching that man is the image and likeness of God, and that likeness will shine through human experience and vicissitudes as we follow the example of Christ Jesus in meeting the demands of our daily lives. Essentially it was byhis obedience to God that Jesus demonstrated divine Life, the Principle of his being. If we go and live likewise, we'll bring into our lives the very Christ, that spiritual image and likeness of God that is the real man of God's creating. The flesh, the carnal mentality, will be crucified, laid off, and man will be found as upright, whole, and free.
Then we'll be uplifted when down: not uplifted simply to reenter the material routine of life in matter, but reborn in new hope, new life, new affection -- all leading upward to God. Thus is man's spiritual heritage, the heritage of the sons and daughters of God, fulfilled in the lives of good men and women.
1Luke 10:37. 2Science and Health,pp. 24-25. 3Job 42:5.
This is a condensed version of an editorial that appeared in the July 13, 1987, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel. - NO DAILY BIBLE VERSE TODAY -