December 14, 2016
We’re continuing our series on “Christmas gifts” with Jesus presents (pronounced like what is found under Christmas trees) or the verb pronunciation used in this sentence from Science and Health: “Jesus presents the indestructible man. . . “(p. 316). This week we are focusing on “man” from Mary Baker Eddy’s statement: “Christmas to me is the reminder of God’s great gift, — His spiritual idea, man and the universe. . . (Miscellany, p. 262).
The scribes and the Pharisees asked Jesus for a sign, and Jesus responded that there shall be no sign except “the sign of the prophet Jonas.” (Matthew 12:38, 39). Jonah was rescued after three days and nights in the fish’s belly, but are there other signs besides the obvious resurrection comparison? Does Jonah remind you of the elder brother in the parable of the prodigal son, especially since both stories are open-ended, leaving you to complete them with your own lives?
How forgiving was Jonah compared to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross? (“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34) Does the gift of an indestructible Life require an indestructible Love (recognized by us humanly as forgiveness)? And has your indestructible Life presented to you by Christ become this life of forgiveness which Jesus stressed in his words and deeds? Or in other words, are you wearing your Christmas gift?
The Book of Jonah is read in synagogues on Yom Kipper, the Jewish Day of Atonement, because one of its major themes is forgiveness. (“Jonah and the Whale, Why the Book of Jonah is read on Yom Kipper” by Nahum Sarna, Bible History Daily, 10/10/2016) And one of the best Christian inspirational books I have read on the subject of forgiveness is The Shack by William Young, which is coming out as a movie in the Spring in case you want to read the book first.
So now I am pondering that phrase “indestructible man” differently in Science and Health. It is not just the obvious indestructible Life but also man’s indestructible Love “for Love alone is Life.” (Eddy’s poem “Love,” which is also a hymn).
Here are some footnotes from The New Oxford Annotated Bible about the Pharisee Paul’s reference to his own ascending vision:
2. Corinthians 12:.2 -3: I know a person, an oblique reference to himself, following the apocalyptic convention of anonymous authorship. . .Third heaven, Paradise, where according to mystical Judaism one is granted a vision of the blessed.