There just has to be more!
By Mark Swinney from the August 2019 issue of The Christian Science Journal (all rights reserved).
Imagine a windowless, bare room. Every corner and every square inch of the walls and floor are utterly without illumination. And there is a person living in this room—someone who, in fact, has never lived anywhere else.The only exception to the room’s blandness is right in the center, where sits a small table bordered by two chairs. Overlaying the tabletop is a chessboard. On the squares of the board rests a beautiful chess set, nicely bathed in a little pool of light. Those chess pieces and the board are the only things in the light, and the only things the room’s occupant ever looks upon.
Now imagine that, every week or so, another person slips in through a hidden door to sit at the table. Our room’s resident has been playing chess with this other individual since he was quite young. You can imagine, over the years, how important the game of chess has become for our resident! Since it is all he ever sees and knows, the entirety of his world balances on what occurs on that little board. What happens to a knight, a queen, a pawn, undoubtedly means absolutely everything to him.
Suppose one day, between moves, the man’s opponent whispers from across the table, “My friend, I must tell you something. There is much more to existence than this chess game. There is a bright, diverse, huge, intricate world outside of this room.”
“Hmmm … yes, sometimes I’ve had suspicions,” our resident muses, “that there might somehow, someway be more. But when I look around with my own two eyes, it’s obvious that only what is happening on this chessboard has meaning. In no way is there anything more important, more vital and pivotal for us both, than the strategy of what happens on this board of black and white squares.”
Of course, the moment our resident is led out of his gloomy abode into the light of day, everything becomes to him almost magically different and wonderful. And, after only a few hours out exploring the immensity of the world, whatever happened over the years on that chessboard has become less significant in comparison.
Have you ever had little intuitions about how there might be more to existence than simply what you see every day, where you go, what you do? Beyond what just your eyes are showing you, do you suspect that there might be much more?
I’ve often had those feelings and little intuitions. A wider and clearer view of existence includes for me deep and now-tangible spiritual facets of our being.
Somewhat like our chess-game-focused resident hearing the whisper of his friend telling of a bigger, brighter world, we hear the whisper of God, of divine Truth, in our hearts and thoughts, and this has a wonderfully enlightening effect. It introduces us to the real world—the one and only wonderful, infinite world of Spirit, Love, and goodness, of bright spirituality and incredible divine intelligence.
The kingdom of heaven is not something for later. It is here and now.
Sure, like that chess set in the small pool of light, the physical universe certainly may momentarily feel to us like everything and the only thing, making it hard even to fathom something beyond it. Yet, gratefully, there is more—so much more, and it is present! As Jesus put it, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 10:7). Jesus’ theology in that statement was a departure then, and is a departure now, from commonplace philosophical and religious views.
The kingdom of heaven is not something for later. Not far in the distance. Here and now, God’s kingdom is knowable, perceivable, provable, livable. Rather than death being the ticket to a world of heavenly bliss, Jesus stated plainly to all of his followers this good news: “Thy kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10)—or, as Mary Baker Eddy spiritually interprets this line: “Thy kingdom is come; Thou art ever-present” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 16). Not “coming.” “Come”! Instead of leaving heaven for mortality—and perpetually living with vulnerabilities and frustrations—we actually now reside spiritually, perfectly, in the infinitude of God, in the infinitude of divine Love.
When you stop to think about it, with God being everywhere, there truly is nowhere else to go. So, thought by thought, step by step, prayer by prayer, healing by healing, we can recognize and prove the limitless, present spiritual nature of real existence. We can see tangible results in our lives as we embrace spiritual facts in consciousness and express them in our prayers and lives. This is the loyal work of the followers of Jesus, the students of the Christ Science he taught.
In our prayers, we always have the opportunity to, with childlike willingness, look up from some entrancing “chess set world” defined only by constricting limits. And soon, to our surprise, we find that we have actually been given so much more—infinitely more, in fact! From the confines and context of simple mortality, words can barely describe it all.
The simple black letters on this page spelling out the word thunderstorm cannot even come near to the smell of rain, beautiful crashes of thunder, and dime-size drops of water splashing down on the dusty earth, any more than the printed words “All is God, and God is Love” can match the absolute immensity and wonder of the infinite Love that is Deity. Yet, through consistent prayer, you actually can discover and tangibly experience the very nature and presence of divine Love.
“This kingdom of God ‘is within you,’—is within reach of man’s consciousness here, and the spiritual idea reveals it,” Science and Health explains (p. 576).
What happens when human consciousness catches Love’s whisper, revealing the spiritual idea, the kingdom of God, as present and intact? Resolution, reformation, transformations of thought, and enduring healing.
What happens when human consciousness catches Love’s whisper?
For instance, when Jesus’ disciples questioned him about a man who had never been able to see, it became clear that those disciples were still perceiving existence only from a limited perspective of material living. From such a narrow-sighted viewpoint, they naturally believed that someone had made a wrong move, a move that caused the man to suffer, leading them to ask, “Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” But Jesus answered, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” (John 9:2, 3).
From Jesus’ answer, we can see that he was unimpressed by evidence of material vulnerabilities and limitations. His consciousness was filled with the wonder of the brighter, bigger picture—the enormousness of the present, delightful works of God. Jesus clearly beheld this infinite kingdom of God, and through the spiritual truth, the man was healed and began seeing for the first time. As Mrs. Eddy put it: “The visible universe and material man are the poor counterfeits of the invisible universe and spiritual man. Eternal things (verities) are God’s thoughts as they exist in the spiritual realm of the real” (Science and Health, p. 337).
As a result of thinking through my existence this way, I have found my perspective—my whole outlook on my world—expanding. Yes, right here, in the vast, spiritual realm of the real, there is an infinitude of eternal realities, reflections of God’s beautiful and wonderful thoughts.
It’s so encouraging to know that we can each stand up and walk away from the narrow perspective of a limited material existence and walk into the expansive, beautiful, blessed light of spiritual truth and divine reality.