Islands of Innocence
ONE spring my Welsh shepherdess friend told me happily that they had had ``a bumper crop of lambs!'' The following year the news was not so good. Radioactive fallout from the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl had drifted across the ocean to the British Isles and polluted the green highlands. My friend's lambs were just inside the ``safety zone,'' but there was little to celebrate that year. Governments certainly have a responsibility to prevent such catastrophes from occurring, and every citizen can help to clean up the mental pollution -- the sin -- that threatens humanity's well-being. And as I was thinking about my friend's lambs, I began to realize how much real power there is in spiritual purity.
In the Bible a lamb is often a symbol of innocence and purity. John the Baptist recognized Christ Jesus as the Lamb of God, who would take away the sins of the world.1 The Saviour rebuked sin wherever he encountered it, but he forgave sinners and admonished them to relinquish their sinful ways. He understood evil to be a lie with no mandate in God's kingdom. Even at the time of his trial and imminent crucifixion, Jesus' life remained an island of innocence in a raging sea of hatred, intrigue, and barbarity.
To help today in overcoming this evil in the world, we can start by finding within ourselves our own island of innocence -- our innate spiritual purity and freedom that are the heritage of the sons and daughters of God. Innocence is a gift of God. We need to cherish and defend it, for it keeps us safe from harm.
In the allegory played out in the garden of Eden, the serpent is the villain. Today, Christian Science calls this deceiver animal magnetism because it claims the power to draw mankind's thought away from the purity and goodness that have their source in God, Spirit. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, explains the Biblical authority for denouncing evil. Its unreality is exposed, and its remedy is shown to be Christ, Truth. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mrs. Eddy writes, ``That false claim -- that ancient belief, that old serpent whose name is devil (evil), claiming that there is intelligence in matter either to benefit or to injure men -- is pure delusion, the red dragon; and it is cast out by Christ, Truth, the spiritual idea, and so proved to be powerless.''2
We can defend ourselves from the pollutants of the carnal mind through prayer. Our island of innocence will remain invincible if we build a strong spiritual defense against sin. Innocence doesn't exist in isolation; it is always linked to the Lamb of God, to the spiritual idea of Love. As Jesus proved, innocence and purity are not weak and helpless. When they are exercised daily in thought and action, they stand strong against such predators as lust and hatred and outshine them.
Innocence is a quality often associated with children. Our prayers can help to defend the children of the world from pollutants such as drugs, violence, and pornography, which would poison minds and rob people of their innate right to express good. Mrs. Eddy once spoke of children as ``the bulwarks of freedom, the cement of society, the hope of our race!''3 We can vigorously safeguard this heritage. We need to nurture childlike qualities in ourselves, too. When found in God, the power of simplicity, purity, unselfish affection, and joy can't be contaminated by evil; these qualities create their own ambience of good.
1See John 1:29. 2Science and Health, p. 567. 3Pulpit and Press, p. 9.
This is a condensed version of an editorial that appeared in the February 19 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.