"Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32

Thought for the Week - last week's message 


Webster’s links probation to examination and evaluation.  and defines probation as a period of testing to ascertain one’s fitness for progress.  The important implication is that what we call death is not an end of life but simply a step into a new sphere of strengthening and influence.   Christ Jesus, of course, is the one whose example set the model both for this life and for further influence after what appeared to be death.     

Centuries ago, the Psalmist defined God as the one “who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases, Who redeemeth thy life from destruction, who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies…”  and whose mercy is “from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness until children’s children.”  (Ps.103:3-4, 17)   Much later, Paul, in his message to the Romans urged that we “be not conformed to this world but…transformed by the renewing of (our) mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” He enjoined us to “Be not overcome of evil, but (to) overcome evil with good.”  (Romans 12:2, 21)   

The obvious implication is that this present experience is a preparatory school, with the assurance that what we learn here, we won’t have to re-learn hereafter.   Mary Baker Eddy puts it this way:  “Life is the origin and ultimate of man, never attainable through death, but gained by walking in the pathway of Truth both before and after that which is called death.”  (S&H 487:3-6)    

She adds:  “Progress is born of experience.  It is the ripening of mortal man, through which the mortal is dropped for the immortal.  Either here or hereafter, suffering or Science must destroy all illusions regarding life and mind, and regenerate material sense and self.  The old man with his deeds must be put off.” (S&H 296:4-9)  Isn’t it encouraging to know that “Each successive stage of experience unfolds new views of divine goodness and love?”  (S&H 66:14) 

The lesson includes the account in I Kings, Chapter 17, of the prophet Elijah’s restoration to life of the son of a widow woman in whose home he was temporarily staying.   Without a doubt, as Mrs. Eddy puts it, “The poor suffering heart needs its rightful nutriment, such as peace, patience in tribulation, and a priceless sense of the dear Father’s loving-kindness.”  She also asks:  Can there be any birth or death for man, the spiritual image and likeness of God?  Instead of God sending sickness and death, He destroys them, and brings to light immortality.”  (S&H 365:31 and 206:22-28)  

All that dies (and must do so) is a false sense of life along with a failure to meet God’s demands.  She insists that our individuality “is not material” and that this is “the great fact of being for time and eternity.” (S&H 285:2)   It erases either “faith in death” or “fear of its sting” and so raises “the standard of health and morals far beyond its present elevation…” (S&H 426:23-28)   The lesson includes the account in Mark, Chapter  17, of Jesus’ healing of insanity (called “a dumb spirit”) in a boy,  and his comment that “this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” (abstaining from the evidence of the physical senses).  

Soon thereafter, Jesus forewarned his disciples of his upcoming crucifixion AND resurrection and assured them that “…this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3)   Let us remember that “Life is real and death is the illusion” and that the great attainment is “To divest thought of false trusts and material evidences in order that the spiritual facts of being may appear…” (S&H 427:3 and 428:8-12)  

Jesus’ ascension, according to Mrs. Eddy, “revealed  unmistakably and probationary and progressive state beyond the grave.” (S&H 46:20-29)  She adds:  “Universal salvation  rests on progression and probation and  is unattainable  without them.” (S&H 291:12-13)  The writer of Proverbs puts it simply:  “In the way of righteousness is life;  and in the pathway thereof there is no death.” (12:28) 

Jamae van Eck