A Book That Opens Up the Bible
AT one time I regularly attended movies with my older brother. His love of film-making and his artistic understanding give him an insightful perspective on the deeper meanings in a movie that I often miss.
I remember one particular scene in a movie. There was, of course, just one image on the screen that we were both watching. All that I saw was a stream with junk in it. My brother, on the other hand, saw the stream as a symbol of the washing away of the material crutches of society and civilization. When he explained this to me I could glimpse something of the breadth of ideas embraced in such a work of art. It made the film richer, deeper, more lucid to me.
The Bible, too, is overflowing with vital spiritual ideas. When I first started reading the Bible, much of it seemed obscure and puzzling. I have discovered a ``friend," however, that has done for my understanding of the Bible much the same thing that my brother did for my film viewing. This friend has opened up the Bible's inner meaning--illuminated its deeper spiritual message. The spiritual meaning of the Scriptures was never actually absent, of course. That's as inseparable from the Bible as a direct or's vision is from his movie. I, however, required more spiritual discernment to see what was always there.
The good thing about the particular friend that has helped me to understand the Bible is that it, too, is a book, and therefore one is free to spend as much time with it as one wishes. The book is called Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Its author, Mary Baker Eddy, was healed of an injury diagnosed as fatal by reading the Bible. She had long been a deep student of the Scriptures. But this time, as she read and prayed, God opened her eyes more than ever before to the spiritual meaning of His
Word. Explaining this event, she writes in Miscellaneous Writings, ``That short experience included a glimpse of the great fact that I have since tried to make plain to others, namely, Life in and of Spirit; this Life being the sole reality of existence."
This ``great fact" is explained in Science and Health, which really opens up the Bible anew for the unprejudiced inquirer. Understanding that God is divine Spirit enables us to recognize that His creation is entirely spiritual. This light that Christian Science throws on the Scriptures uncovers its infinite meaning and brings healing. Such healing is not, however, the main aim of prayer. Healing comes as an inevitable consequence of the real reason for studying and praying--namely, to quench our thirst f or an increased knowledge of God and of man's true relationship to Him.
One of the great discoveries I made, as I read the Bible in the light Christian Science throws on it, is that the Bible affirms man's place as God's son. If we read the Gospels' record of the life of the Saviour, Christ Jesus, without the aid of the spiritual key, it's possible to be left with a feeling that what we're reading about is utterly beautiful, but long gone. Yet when we recognize through the teachings of Christian Science that Jesus was evidencing the eternal Christ, the true, spiritual nature
of man, one's eyes are opened to seeing the beauty of Christliness expressed in oneself and others.
This happened for me one spring day. I had accompanied my mother and older brother to a park. I had spent much of the previous night striving to learn what the Bible and Science and Health teach about the true, spiritual nature of affection, its purity, and its invariability. I had glimpsed something of the fact that God, who is divine Love, is infinitely full of affection for all His ideas, and that in our true, spiritual identity we reflect His nature ceaselessly. I saw something of the fact that man e vidences the consistency and fullness of God's affection in all his experience.
That day, at the park, I found myself suddenly overtaken by a profound spiritual vision of my mum's and brother's utter beauty as ideas, or reflections, of God. Though I had always loved and appreciated them both, now the love and appreciation were on a different, a spiritual, footing. I saw something of how they expressed God's flawless, divine creation, and I loved them more concretely, more gratefully than ever before.
We love one another most fully when our affection is grounded on this solid and secure basis. But if we let our Bible remain closed--either physically kept shut or shut to our discernment through failing to open our thought to the spir-itual light of its true meaning--we may fail to see man's spiritual selfhood as clearly as we need to. Opening the Bible practically, and our thoughts prayerfully, in order to gain the scientific truth of its meaning, opens our eyes to infinite good! The book of Malachi po ints to the abundance of good, saying, ``Prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." Today is a good day to start opening the Bible and finding God's goodness. My ``friend," Science and Health, can be your friend too. It can open up and deepen your comprehension of God's holy Word and bring a love of the Scriptures that will comfort and heal.
Above all, it will open up your heart to an ever-increasing understanding of God and His great love for you, and for all.