Every year I read The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews. It is a novel about a young man facing huge crises in his life, and after a car accident he finds himself traveling through time. He is met by various historical figures, each one giving him a piece of valued advice.
He meets Presidents Truman and Lincoln, Christopher Columbus and Anne Frank among others. That book is a quick read, and one of my favorites, but it always leaves me thinking, “With whom would I like to meet and share a few moments of discussion?”
Like the character in the book, I would love to meet Truman and Lincoln, and probably John Adams, Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky and maybe even comic Phyllis Diller, whose movies made me laugh as a kid.
But there is no one I would rather sit down and speak with than Jesus. With all the division, controversy, and threats of violence this world faces, I would love to have “lunch with Jesus” so to speak – to hear what he would say, and also ask his advice on how I could help heal these divisions by living a better life. But actually, I know his words to me would not deviate from what has already been recorded in the Bible.
I love Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew, chapters 5 – 7). In it, Jesus doesn’t coddle our petty dislikes and animosities, let alone the vicious hatred one may feel towards another. He voices some strong demands when he states, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Through the years, these words have been a rebuke to me when I have been less than loving to others, and a comfort when I’ve been verbally attacked.
As a Christian, specifically as a Christian Scientist, I take the words and works of Jesus to be the saving grace that can bring healing to the destructive disputes and violence that plague our country and our world. The Son of God presented the answer to every problem we face and promised, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed…” If obeying and living the truth he taught is the purest form of Christianity, then the Sermon on the Mount must be cherished in the heart of every Christian as a vastly important guide to life.
This is what Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, advocated. She not only quoted from it many times in her writings; she wrote this in a message to her church: “To my sense the Sermon on the Mount, read each Sunday without comment and obeyed throughout the week, would be enough for Christian practice.”
Eddy taught that Jesus’ words and especially his works are not relics of a past culture and less sophisticated time. They are timeless in their spiritual power and effectiveness – even to the healing of disease. The omnipotent God Jesus showed us is still present to heal our physical bodies as well as our community “bodies”. This has been proven in my life many times – in cases of all sorts of illnesses, as well as in times of personal conflict.
I remember one night before performing in front of a crowd, I became sick to my stomach. Since I was to play the clarinet in that performance, I could not afford to be nauseous. I thought about Jesus’ great love for all, and the omnipresent Father that he taught us to pray to. As I sat waiting for my time to go on stage, I prayed the Lord’s Prayer, slowly and silently, trying to feel the saving power of God behind the words. By the time I finished this great prayer, I was able to go on stage and perform effortlessly and beautifully.
I guess in a way, I had “lunch with Jesus” that evening, by letting his words speak to me, influence me, and bring calmness and wellness into my life. This is possible for all of us. Jesus’ teachings still speak through the ages to each of us, and they hold vast, untapped potential for bringing peace, love and healing into our communities.
If you’re disturbed by world events or personal issues and would like to have lunch with a wise and caring friend, open the Bible and have lunch with Jesus – by reading his beloved Sermon, and letting it have an impact on you and your actions. The healing of the world begins with each of us.
©2017 Christian Science Committee on Publication for Illinois