When I was 18 I moved to London to pursue some specialized on job training. It was very low-paying. I was drawing down my small savings to meet expenses. After a few months it became necessary to prepare to return to the US to pursue other opportunities.
During the last two weeks before I left England, I was invited to travel around the UK with a friend. She was a more experienced student of Christian Science. Realizing that I had very little money to travel with, she encouraged me to pray and study the weekly Christian Science Bible Lesson each morning during the trip to get a better understanding of God and of my spiritual substance.
The first Sunday, one week into our holiday, we attended a church service in Edinburgh, Scotland. I had been studying the Bible Lesson and praying so much during the week. This made me especially eager and happy to be in that church on Sunday morning. In fact, I was so eager, that I sat in the front row so I wouldn't be distracted by anything and could hear to every word.
I had forgotten, though, that there would be a collection taken during the service and I hadn't prepared in advance what I would place in the basket. Since I was in the front row, the collection basket came to me first! I didn't have a lot of time to dig around in my purse.
I knew I had four bills left in there - a fifty, a twenty, a ten and a five. This needed to last me a week. I reached in and pulled out the first bill I touched. The fifty. I put it in the basket. What else could I do?
As I watched it go, I prayed: "Dear God, as your reflection, I give back in your service all that you give me." It was a very spontaneous prayer.
Actually, that is exactly what a reflection does. From the Latin root reflectare, reflection is literally "bending back", or giving back to the original or source.
I still had 35 pounds (the equivalent of about $50 USD at the time) in my purse to live on for one week on the road. But I had never felt so free of fear about my finances. When I saw myself as divine reflection in that moment of prayer, I saw what my eyes couldn't yet see - my permanent, unbreakable link to unfolding good. I felt richer than I ever had before.
Every place we stayed in that final week included an ample breakfast. Each evening we received a large rich cup of hot chocolate and a slice of shortbread. I never had a moment of hunger. I slept on the floor of my friend's room in a sleeping bag, and gave her 30 of my remaining pounds toward the expenses.
When we arrived back in London on the day of my flight, I had five pounds left to cover exactly the expense of the taxi to the airport.
At the last moment at the airport I realized that my bags were even more overweight than they had been when I arrived in England. On the first voyage I had to pay 100 dollars for the extra cargo.
Then I remembered my prayer in that church and realized I would always be OK as long as I never forgot that I reflect the infinite Mind that is God, and was willing to give my all in service to God. So I decided that, if I had to, I was willing to leave all my personal possessions behind in England and let God supply my needs.
I told the agent my bags were overweight. He was so cute. He gave me a wink and said, "Overweight? What is overweight?" And he threw everything on the conveyer belt to go to the plane.
In the many years since, I have had a few brief moments of being quite low on money. The lowest was 37 cents. But I wasn't afraid. In fact, this lesson on reflecting all good from God has never failed to arrest the fear in each case. Giving back in service to God what I reflect from Him has been the saving grace that has brought employment, opportunity, housing, time, and even cash - whatever has supplied my needs.
Once, when Jesus sent his disciples out two by two to preach the Word, Mark's gospel says he "commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse: But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats." (8:9)
I don't think Jesus was setting a policy of perpetual poverty or dependance on charity for his most devoted followers. He simply let them learn a powerful lesson on spiritual dependance and Love reflected in love as the supply for human needs. Once that lesson was learned, it became a supportive platform for later proofs of supply that enabled the same disciples to build up the Christian community.
Luke's gospel recounts that later "he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip..." (22:35,36)
I don't believe Jesus expected us to accept limitation in any form. A lack of, or block on, the perpetual flow of divine good, is simply a lie about God - our true Source. As God's image and likeness, we reflect infinite Good and expressing divine good places us squarely in line with a supply flow that simply can't run out.
There is a "don't miss" conversation going on at Time4thinkers.com. "Radical Acts" is a summer project - online and ecumenical - inviting anyone and everyone to take one of 18 of Jesus' toughest teachings and to live it this summer. Come join in the discussion or simply have a look around!
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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