SUMMER has come and gone (at least for those living in the Northern Hemisphere!). Some of us were able to have vacations; some of us weren't. But those who couldn't get away don't need to feel deprived. I've learned over the years that simply seeing new scenery or getting away from office or household responsibilities isn't in and of itself a guarantee of finding rest and relaxation. In fact, sometimes people come back from a vacation feeling as if they need a vacation! Doesn't this show that vacations themselves aren't a cure for our problems? Don't despair, however! This doesn't leave us with nowhere to turn for peace and refreshment.
As a student of Christian Science, I'm learning more all the time about the spiritual nature of true rest, true peace, true refreshment. One of the basic facts I've learned is that God is the source of real and lasting rest. The Bible speaks over and over of God's giving rest to His people. And the Psalmist urges, ``Rest in the Lord.''
Understanding something of God's nature helps us see why God is the source of rest. God is perfect Life, the source of strength, vitality, and energy. God is pure Spirit, and His universe includes no material limitations. As Soul, God supplies unlimited peace, joy, and beauty. Because God is the divine Principle of harmony, harmony is the outcome of the law of God, governing all reality.
For these spiritual truths to be really helpful, however, it's vital to know not only what God is but also what man is. The Bible reveals that man is, in reality, the image of God, His spiritual offspring, or expression. Man isn't truly made up of a material body and brain that get worn out from activity. Granted, this is what the evidence of the physical senses would have us believe. But material sense can only report falsely because it is incapable of discerning Spirit; and Spirit is God, who is infinite Truth. Only spiritual sense reports accurately. And the evidence of spiritual sense reveals that man's true selfhood is purely spiritual.
Christians consider Christ Jesus the Exemplar, the example to us all of what to think and how to live. Jesus knew he was the Son of God, and he spoke of a rest that we all can experience as we acknowledge our own sonship as God's children. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, was an earnest, committed follower of Christ Jesus, and through a lifetime of studying the Bible she perceived the spiritual truths, or divine laws, that undergirded Jesus' teachings and works.
She observes in No and Yes: ``The real Christ was unconscious of matter, of sin, disease, and death, and was conscious only of God, of good, of eternal Life, and harmony. Hence the human Jesus had a resort to his higher self and relation to the Father, and there could find rest from unreal trials in the conscious reality and royalty of his being, -- holding the mortal as unreal, and the divine as real. It was this retreat from material to spiritual selfhood which recuperated him for triumph over sin, sickness, and death.''
As we follow the example of the Master and turn to God, the source of all peace and harmony -- and as we understand our own true, spiritual selfhood as God's offspring -- we, too, can find the rest that restores us and helps us to triumph over the troubles and challenges we face.
The wonderful part about this rest -- the real R&R -- is that it is always available, everywhere, to all. Anyone, at any time, can turn to God and feel refreshed by His love and renewed with divine energy, pure peace, and joy.