PERSONAL attainment is often glorified these days. Yet many figures, made famous by the media, have fallen from their pinnacles. I came across a book of Aesop's fables the other day that I had enjoyed when I was a child. One of my old favorites has a moral that is as contemporary as today and tomorrow. It tells of an oil lamp that began to boast that it shone more brightly than the sun. Just then, a puff of wind blew it out. Someone lighted it again and said, ``You just keep alight, and never mind the sun.''1 Perhaps the lesson in this fable for us today is that self-importance and pride easily undermine our work. Personal achievement is vulnerable unless we understand something of undeviating good, which has its source in God.
Christ Jesus' life furnishes us with a model of God's goodness. His success lay in understanding that spiritual man is God's likeness and can do nothing on his own, for he is, in reality, God's expression, the reflection of divine Love. From the gospel narratives we see that Jesus bore witness to the Light, which is God. He revealed man's sonship with the Father, God. Jesus showed that in reality everyone reflects the light of Christ. He said of his followers, as Matthew's Gospel records, ``Ye are the light of the world.'' As we let our light shine by following his example, we glorify our Father. We cannot shine on our own, for we are truly the reflection of God.
In Retrospection and Introspection, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, shows that an understanding of reflection is essential in spiritual healing. She writes: ``Man shines by borrowed light. He reflects God as his Mind, and this reflection is substance, -- the substance of good.''
The light of Christ is fundamental to proving that man is the reflection of God. Cherishing the Christly qualities of meekness, love, and true spirituality, and actively bringing our thoughts and lives into accord with divine law, help us to identify ourselves as God's likeness. Reflected light can't be snuffed out by chance, accident, or human opinion, for light has its source in God.
Christ, Truth, brings healing and redemption into people's lives. A friend had to go for an X-ray before she could emigrate to another country. The X-ray showed a physical condition of her lungs, which the examiner spoke of as ``cloudiness.''
My friend asked a Christian Science practitioner to pray with her. They prayed to gain a deeper understanding of the true nature of spiritual man as God's flawless image. The practitioner referred the woman to a verse in the book of Exodus that gives a vivid illustration of reflection. It describes what Moses and the elders of Israel discerned when they went up to the altar they had built to God: ``They saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.'' The practitioner and the woman felt that this verse described the substance and clarity of God's being, and they saw that there is really nothing to cloud over spiritual reflection when thought is transparent to Truth. My friend's fear was soon gone and a subsequent examination confirmed her freedom from disease.
As we recognize that we are in fact God's reflection, not material beings, each of us will shine with brighter and steadier light. God, divine Mind, expresses Himself in goodness, purity, and health, and we reflect His glory.
17sop's Fables (London: William Heinemann, 1912), p. 49.
This is a condensed version of an editorial that appeared in the May 21 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.