Jesus talks about going into the closet to pray. The closet he is talking about is the sanctuary of Spirit. In this closet where we pray, we shut out our chatter, and separate ourselves from all the noisy demands of the material world. In our prayerful closet, we can focus on our deepest desires and most sober longings, and open our hearts and thoughts to understanding more broadly and clearly the allness of God. This closet is a beautiful place and we should go there often.
But it is interesting to me that we are not told to stay there. We are to come out of the closet and publicly make our lives confirm the integrity of our prayers.
It is also interesting to me that “coming out” of the closet is the slang that is used for those of varying sexual orientation, when they have the courage to reveal their innermost self identification to others. I’m thinking that “coming out” should not be limited to just this subset of people, but expanded to include all of us.
A friend of mine, in a school assignment about identity, “came out” recently as a Christian Scientist. She explained that this was deeply important to her, and was not something she discusses lightly or freely, because she’s afraid of being judged by people who might not even attempt to understand. She was painfully aware of misconceptions out there about Christian Science, and knew this news was unlikely to be popular with her hearers. She told her class she was hesitant to tell them about her cherished faith, because she didn’t know what their reaction would be, and once she had said it, there was no going back. She didn’t want to argue with anyone, and begged for their consideration and continued respect.
Those in the classroom were a very diverse group including those of transgender, and they heard her heart, and understanding how hard it is to go against the status quo from their own experience, they poured forth to my friend encouragement, support, and interest. They did unto her as they would have wanted done unto themselves.
In this world, we are asked all the time to accept others as different than ourselves, and this climate should make it easier and easier to own up to sharing our own unusual proclivities. Do you need to “come out” in some way to others? What is authentic about you that would be a relief to share and have accepted, instead of cautiously guard?
Imagine a world where we are all confident we will be accepted just as we truly are. There are very few of us who authentically fully fit within some imagined status quo. Jesus, in the same sermon where he discusses the closet, tells us to put our light on a candlestick, instead of under a bushel, so that all that are in the house may benefit from its light. The bushel is like the closet; it may seem safer there, but the light will extinguish shut away, for lack of air. It needs to freely and openly radiate for all to see.
Each of us needs to “come out” more each day, embracing and accepting more and more who we actually are, honoring our quiet self examination time and the encouragement from on high that we gain in our closet quiet time, which gives us the needed confidence to risk the candlestick as the best place for us to be.
Each of us is proclaimed as the light of the world! So shine forth, and trust you will be met with acceptance, appreciation, and joy!
THANKS!!!! I really appraciate your article!!!
I wrote a CLoset article last year and thought you might enjoy iy.
Thanks for all that you do!!
Take a look at my Closet story if you like!!!
I ran across this quote this week and loved it and knew you would probably as well :
“If you let yourself be truly seen, then you can be truly loved. ✨”
Your article also reminds me of the groundbreaking work Brene Brown has done on overcoming society’s pull towards shame and guilt which would try put us in a place of hiding our true selves. The end result of course is a beautiful vulnerability that allows us to be more clearly understood and truly loved and also allows us to more clearly understand and truly love others when they allow themselves to be vulnerable. It’s been a daily practice for me and a growing experience to daily put off any encroachment of guilt or shame that comes to consciousness. I have found my willingness to be vulnerable has opened up a couple of relationships to a much more healthy level and I’m so grateful Brene says it’s the only way to forging genuine authentic human connections with others. The story in your article really corroborates all of this so beautifully! Thank you so much !
Thank you dear Polly !!
Thank you! I made the decision to come out as a Christian Scientist about 15 years ago, and never looked back. A few enemies, but lots of new friends. And finally last year, I started a monthly blog on Medium, @CSRenewal. Onward!
This is an important message! We have such wonderful tools to share that can help anyone receptive! The Daily Lift, the message of the day, Articles from the Moniter, Journal and Sentinel. We also have links to the weekly church service along with Wednesday service in Boston. There are many lectures on YouTube and events to share.
I find that many students of CS on social media are fearful of sharing with their followers who may not agree with the message and are afraid of the consequences.
Mary Baker Edy tells us to give a cup of cold water in Christ’s name and never fear the consequences.
Not sure I agree with this. Maybe it works in the US, idk. In other parts of the world where diversity is less accepted, one could just be causing needless problems for oneself. Personally I don’t talk about such personal matters unless someone asks me first. Letting your light shine doesn’t mean swinging your lantern in people’s faces! Most people where I live don’t want to know about CS and even some that do, don’t agree with it. Either they belong to the prevailing religious mindset, or increasingly they have rejected it and also any other form of religion.
Wonderful post, Polly! Thank you!
Thanks Polly! I “came out of the closet” as a Christian Scientist when I sent our Christian Science lecture flyers to family and friends in May, who I hadn’t opened up to previously! The lecture was “live-streamed” and available for a few months afterwards online.
It felt very freeing to do that and several people were receptive to the lecture’s healing message and are now reading Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. Healings are being reported!