Tuesday, April 18, 2006

What gives life meaning

Have you ever felt that life has no meaning? Sometimes I’ve felt this way when situations have disappointed me or when things haven’t turned out the way I planned. I think, Well, that was a waste of time, or What was the point of all that?

Is there any point to just doing good, even when there’s no visible result or reward? I know I’m not the first person who suspects sometimes that the goodness I’m expressing might just be going into a black hole. But two passages from Science and Health are helping me understand how even this inevitably results in spiritual growth:

While we adore Jesus, and the heart overflows with gratitude for what he did for mortals, — treading alone his loving pathway up to the throne of glory, in speechless agony exploring the way for us, — yet Jesus spares us not one individual experience, if we follow his commands faithfully; and all have the cup of sorrowful effort to drink in proportion to their demonstration of his love, till all are redeemed through divine Love.


If you launch your bark upon the ever-agitated but healthful waters of truth, you will encounter storms. Your good will be evil spoken of. This is the cross. Take it up and bear it, for through it you win and wear the crown. Pilgrim on earth, thy home is heaven; stranger, thou art the guest of God.


The cup of sorrowful effort in proportion to the demonstration of Jesus’ love. Taking up the cross in order to win the crown.

This poem by Mary Baker Eddy speaks of kissing the cross, which to me has always meant to embrace it and see where it leads you.


O'er waiting harpstrings of the mind
There sweeps a strain,
Low, sad, and sweet, whose measures bind
The power of pain,

And wake a white-winged angel throng
Of thoughts, illumed
By faith, and breathed in raptured song,
With love perfumed.

Then His unveiled, sweet mercies show
Life's burdens light.
I kiss the cross, and wake to know
A world more bright.

And o'er earth's troubled, angry sea
I see Christ walk,
And come to me, and tenderly,
Divinely talk.

Thus Truth engrounds me on the rock,
Upon Life's shore,
'Gainst which the winds and waves can shock,
Oh, nevermore!

From tired joy and grief afar,
And nearer Thee, —
Father, where Thine own children are,
I love to be.

My prayer, some daily good to do
To Thine, for Thee;
An offering pure of Love, whereto
God leadeth me.

I see, too, that the poem resolves to the very thing I’ve been thinking: the meaning of life is to serve others. The answer to the cross is to find “some daily good to do to Thine, for Thee.”

Today may feel like the cross, yet even in the swirl of suffering and doubt, the capacity remains to bless another, to do good, to serve. Life’s meaning comes not from avoiding the cross, but from how we respond to it.

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 4/18/2006 11:22:00 AM, Blogger Brittany said...

Thank you for your post today. I have been lucky enough to have experienced "the storms in the waters of Truth" so I understand what it's like to be attacked for trying to spread Truth. Only in my case it was regarding my efforts to encourage responsible stewards of our earth on my college campus. I am blessed to have had that experience to see (even if only to a miniscule degree) what Jesus went through, but unfortunatly I didn't recognize the experience as bearing the cross, so I abandoned the project. I was getting tired of always feeling like "the bad guy" who in actuality was just trying to help them out. It seemed strange to me that so much hate and resentment could be generated from a simple effort to love to community and its environment. Perhaps if I had realized at the time that I was simply bearing the cross as Jesus did I would have been more willing to fight my way through it and demand to win and "wear the crown". For next time I have learned that when I am faced with a similar situation I must maintain my "pilgrimage" towards the Truth in order to have it really make a difference. Thank you for your reminder of this experience.


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