_ How we answer that question is important. It can have significant consequences.
Christ Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:10-32) provides a useful example of this very lesson. The story focuses on a son who felt that he was his own man and completely able to deal with life on his terms. Longing to be on his own, he requested, received, and squandered his inheritance. He had quite a time of it, and subsequently made quite a mess of things.
But… and it’s an important but… the Bible tells us "he came to himself”. This is one of my favorite lines in the story!
__ “He came to himself”. He woke up to realize he didn’t have to go it alone. In fact, he couldn't go it alone. He had a change of mind and heart that redirected the downward-spiraling course of his life. He recognized what had always been true. He was not alone. His father was right there to love and support him unconditionally.
His “I can or I want to do it myself" attitude did not have the last word. Turning to his father in humility and repentance, he was received with joy, compassion, and a kiss. His father gave him a robe, a ring, shoes, and a bountiful reception. And he was restored to his rightful place in the family.
Jesus’ parable is more than just a good piece of story-telling. It illustrates a spiritual fact. We are never on our own. Our divine Parent is always present, with arms wide open, to guide, guard, help and heal us.
Contending with the struggles of daily life, we might be tempted to feel quite bleak and alone from time to time. But the prodigal story shows that thought can move beyond isolating attitudes . The self-pitying “it all depends on me”, or the self-important “it is all about me”, interferes with the ability to feel God’s presence. For progress, healing and peace, thought must move beyond selfish alone thoughts to an understanding of the all-present and dependable God, our Father-Mother, who is divine Love.
We are each created, by divine design, with the spiritual capacity to turn to the waiting arms of Love. Divine Love is everpresent and all-powerful. When we seek out Love, God - purely, humbly , honestly – it is normal to feel comfort and welcome. It is normal to feel loved and satisfied. To be alone with God is to have a one-on-one relationship with divine Love that never lets us down.
__ Just before the crucifixion, Jesus faced this question of aloneness in the garden of Gethsemane. About to face the greatest challenge of his life, Jesus asked his disciples to watch with him – to pray with him – while he went apart to pray. When he came back, he found them sleeping. Twice more he asked them to watch in prayer. And twice more they were discovered in a deep sleep. His cry, "What, could ye not watch with me for one hour?" points to the isolation and lack of human support he felt.
But Jesus recognized that even if those he loved were unable to stand by him, he would never be alone. He released the disciples from their responsibility and told them to sleep on and take their rest. And he took up his conversation directly and alone with God. (see Matthew, chapter.26)
Christ Jesus was not alone. He was never alone. He was alone with God, his loving Father-Mother, who would not abandon him in his hour of need.
A hymn in the Christian Science hymnal sheds light on the support, guidance and care that we can find in God’s perpetual presence:
God is with me, gently o'er me
Are His wings of mercy spread;
All His way made plain before me,
And His glory round me shed.
Shall my pilgrim feet be led.
God is with me, and His presence
Shall my perfect guidance be,
Till my heart that peace inherit
God alone can give to me.
Helps and heals, and sets me free. (Hymn 81)
Within that forever relationship with God we are all secure. You are secure. You are never, ever alone.
Diane Marrapodi, CSB is a Christian Science practitioner and teacher in Towson, Maryland. To be in touch with Diane directly, you may wish to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She would love to hear from you directly, or through the comments left below!
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I have practiced Christian Science professionally in
some form since 1979.
But my journey with
Christian Science started
in a Sunday school
where as a young child
I was taught the Scriptures and some simple basics
of Jesus' method of
scientific Christian healing.
A significant experience
at the age of twelve
opened my eyes to
the great potential
of this practice.
After impaling my foot
on a nail,
I prayed the way I had learned
in Sunday school.
the pain stopped
and healing began.
By the next morning the wound had disappeared completely.
the great potential
of Christian Science,
there would be no