What maintains us?
By Elaina Simpson, C.S.
From the September 2, 2019 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel
Audio link: Here
Enough! I felt pummeled by problems. Our home had a leak and needed extensive maintenance. On top of that I had water stuck in my ear from swimming, and I couldn’t hear—and after several days, I feared serious damage.
Sitting in front of my laptop, I was trying to get some work done but felt so distracted that I couldn’t focus. Reaching out to God in prayer, I wanted to hear a message that would bring needed calm and healing. Would stepping away for a moment help? I went for a drive.
A few minutes later, I noticed an auto body shop. “Maintenance,” read the sign. Well, that’s exactly what my life needs right now, I thought—constant maintenance. Because the sign was so striking to me, I knew I could rely on spiritual sense to show me why its message stood out all of a sudden.
Soon I realized I had been tricked into thinking it was up to me, or to willpower, to maintain my health with personal prayer, to fix household issues, to get along with everyone, and to get all my work done. Noticing this auto shop sign was a way of hearing God speak to me through all the mental noise in a way I could understand. It reminded me: God does the work—God maintains each of His ideas, which is what we are as His spiritual reflection. Our job is to bear witness to Him and recognize ourselves as God’s reflection.
At some point I’d noticed that underneath the “Maintenance” sign there were different garages, each service provided being assigned to a specific garage: tuneup, oil, alignment, and cleansing. It got me thinking about these concepts spiritually.
Tuneup. A lovely reminder that we can tune our thoughts to God. A tuneup for a car makes me think of ensuring that every detail is in order. I could know that spiritually, every detail of my life is already in its proper order because I am spiritual and governed by God, Spirit. This helped shift my thought from fear to expectancy of healing. God’s allness was clearer to me.
Oil. A mentor had shared with me that it’s important not to let your spiritual “oil” run out. I love Mary Baker Eddy’s metaphysical definition of oil in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “Consecration; charity; gentleness; prayer; heavenly inspiration” (p. 592). God is consistently maintaining me with inspiration and gentleness. Nothing has the power to take away my joy. With a lamp, oil needs to be replenished so the lamp is ready to glow. While I felt that my inner “oil” had run out and my light and happy expression were depleted, I prayed to see that God was maintaining, sustaining, replenishing, and preserving my being.
Alignment. As a spiritual idea in divine Mind, God, each one of us is already in proper alignment. There is no deviation from Mind’s perfection. There can be no accident, because there is no cause or effect outside of God. It’s impossible for God and His perfect idea to be out of alignment because they are one in being—inseparable as cause and effect.
Cleansing. The Bible says we must “put on the new man” (Ephesians 4:24). As God’s spiritual ideas, we are always new, but in our daily experience we have to grow in our understanding and demonstration of this reality. We do this not just every once in a while, but day by day, moment by moment. This is our true cleansing, or baptism. The definition of baptism in Science and Health allows its spiritual sense to come to light: “Purification by Spirit; submergence in Spirit.
“We are ‘willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.’ (II Corinthians v. 8.)” (p. 581).
Every moment, our consciousness and character can be cleansed spiritually and freed from a false sense of things. As a car wash washes away the dirt impeding a driver’s vision, knowing ourselves as God’s pure image and likeness wipes away any beliefs within us that would hinder us from seeing ourselves as God sees us.
Noticing this auto shop sign was a way of hearing God speak to me through all the mental noise.
Because God is the maintainer and healer, giving us spiritual understanding and ability, we don’t have any burden to maintain our own experience through mere human effort. God maintains our health, joy, harmony, peace, and even our understanding of the abundance of all good. Science and Health says, “The divine Mind maintains all identities, from a blade of grass to a star, as distinct and eternal” (p. 70).
These prayers clarified for me how to keep unspiritual and evil thoughts from lodging in my thought. One week, in my efforts to help others, I had taken some disturbing calls. It was soon after this that the water became stuck in my ear, and I couldn’t hear out of the ear I used to listen to the phone. This temporarily stopped me from taking calls at all. I asked myself, “What does God hear?” As God’s expression, I could hear only what God knows, so I could rely on this spiritual truth as I received calls. God, divine Love, doesn’t absorb unfortunate situations and sad stories. Love hears only what it expresses—good. Love heals.
God’s goodness is what perfectly protects and maintains, and I once again saw this more clearly. A mortal and material sense of things, which is a liar, couldn’t have a listening ear, and it couldn’t use mine.
The next morning, the household issues were resolved. Also, I felt my ear pop, and I could hear again. I was back to my work and my regular schedule, which included taking calls with joy. God maintains each of us. I wonder if the owners of that auto body shop know how helpful their roadside sign really is? ______ For updates on future posts, you can subscribe here