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Thought for the Week - last week's message 

SACRAMENT   

Webster’s defines the word “sacrament” (in part) as “…a religious act that is a sign or symbol of spiritual reality.”  Also as “a means of grace.”  The Golden Text of this lesson (in part) is the admonition in First    Chronicles to “worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” 

The prophet Micah answers the question: How do we best serve God?  in this way:  “…what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”   And John, the beloved disciple, insists that:  “God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”  (John 4:24)   Certainly we can all agree with Mary Baker Eddy’s comment that “We worship spiritually only as we cease to worship materially.”   

She adds:  “Worshipping through the medium of matter is paganism.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures 140:16-19)   This lesson answers the question:  How do we “work out (our) own salvation?”   It’s through “spiritual living and blessedness” and the “unspeakable peace which comes from an all-absorbing spiritual love.” (S&H 264:24)  

Paul, in his letter to the Romans puts it this way:  “…be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  (12:2)   And yes, …”if we desire holiness above all else, we shall sacrifice everything for it.  We must be willing to do this that we may walk securely in the only pract6ical road to holiness.”  (S&H 11:22-27)  

How do we overcome “the world, the flesh, and evil?”   Through the spiritual attainments “that open the door to a higher understanding of the divine Life.”  It should be obvious, then, that keeping the sacrament isn’t a one time or even a once a week thing, but a constant effort to know and do the will of God.  As Mrs. Eddy puts it:  “Seeking is not sufficient.  It is striving that enables us to enter.  Spiritual attainments open the door to a higher understanding of the divine Life.” (S&H 10:14-16)   John’s baptism of Jesus in the  wilderness was a symbol of the kind of self-immolation that would indicate our own Christliness in fulfilling God’s imperative demand for righteousness. 

As Mrs. Eddy puts it: “The baptism of Spirit, washing the body of all the impurities of flesh, signifies that the pure in heart see God and are approaching spiritual Life and its demonstration.” (S&H 241:27-30)   She adds:  “In proportion to his purity is man perfect;  and perfection is the order of celestial being which demonstrates Life in Christ, Life’s spiritual ideal.” (S&H 337: 16-19)   Jesus’ keeping of the Passover with his disciples on the night before his crucifixion is symbolic of our own partaking of the “unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (I Corinthians 5:8) 

Yes, “His true flesh and blood were his Life; and they truly eat his flesh and drink his blood, who partake of that divine Life.”  Mrs. Eddy adds:  “Our Eucharist is spiritual communion with the one God.  Our bread `which cometh down from heaven,’ is Truth.  Our cup is the cross.  Our wine the inspiration of Love, the draught our Master drank and commended to his followers.” 

She continues:  “Obeying his precious precepts,--following his demonstration so far as we apprehend it,--we drink of his cup, partake of his bread, are baptized with his purity;  and at last we shall rest, sit down with him, in a full understanding of the divine Principle which triumphs over death.”  (S&H 31:17-22)  

She continues:   “Our Eucharist is spiritual communion with the one God.  Our bread, `which cometh down from heaven,’ is Truth.  Our cup is the cross.  Our wine the inspiration of Love, the draught our Master drank and commented to his followers.” (S&H 35:25)   We can all agree with John when he comments:  “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  (15:13)   Yes, “The divine must over come the human at every point.” (S&H 43:27)    And “…while the heart overflows with  gratitude for what (Jesus) did for mortals…yet (he) spares us not one individual experience, if we follow his commands faithfully…”  (S&H 26:1-9) 

Christian Scientists commemorate Jesus’ victory and his morning meal with his disciples following his resurrection by endeavoring to “take up the cross, heal the sick, cast out evils, and preach Truth to the receptive thought…”    There really is no other way.   

Jamae van Eck