Faces on Faith: What is your number?
Almost immediately upon arrival on this earth, we’re assigned a number. And with that number, go all the expectations society has agreed upon – the terrible twos – the turbulent teens – the reluctant “adulting” struggles of the 20 somethings. We’re told the age when our body starts to break down, and the deteriorating changes to expect after each ten-year milestone.
What if none of this was inevitable? How old would you be if no one ever told you your age? Christian Science has some very interesting things to say about “age.” In the textbook “Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures,” author Mary Baker Eddy poses this idea: “The measurement of life by solar years robs youth and gives ugliness to age. We are all sculptors working at various forms, moulding and chiseling thought. What is the model before mortal mind? Is it imperfection, joy, sorrow, sin, suffering? Have you accepted the mortal model? Are you reproducing it?” She continues: “Man is not a pendulum, swinging between evil and good, joy and sorrow, sickness and health, life and death. To remedy this, we must turn our gaze in the right direction, and then walk that way. Man, governed by immortal Mind, is always beautiful and grand. Each succeeding year unfolds wisdom, beauty and holiness.”
It is Caleb who tells Joshua in the Old Testament of the Bible: “Forty years old was I when Moses sent me from Kadeshbarnea to spy out the land, and I brought him word as it was in mine heart. Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me, made the heart of the people melt; but I wholly followed the Lord my God. And now, behold, the Lord hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, while the children of Israel wandered in the desert, and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old, I am as strong this day, as I was in the day Moses sent me, as my strength was then, even so is my strength now.”
Eddy concurs when she writes: “Except for the error of measuring and limiting all that is good and beautiful, man would enjoy more than threescore years and ten, and still maintain his vigor, freshness, and promise. Men and women of riper years ought to ripen into health and immortality, instead of lapsing into darkness and gloom. Immortal Mind feeds the body with supernal freshness and fairness, supplying it with beautiful images of thought.” Even Job promises: “If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hand toward him, thine age shall be clearer than the moonday. Thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning.”
Eddy concludes: “The understanding that life is God, Spirit, lengthens our days, by strengthening our trust in the deathless reality of life, its almightiness and immortality.” She invites us to “feel the divine energy of Spirit, bringing us into newness of life.” So, are we still saddled with a number, or are we men and women in Life’s “eternal noon, undimmed by a declining sun!”
June Sieber is affiliated with the Sanibel Christian Science Church.