I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on.
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will
John Henry Newman (hymn #169)
I understand this was one of Mrs. Eddy's favorite hymns, and with John Dykes' glorious music ("Lux Benigna") it is a barnburner. We may get it "our way" at Burger King or McDonald's, but in the Kingdom of Heaven we either get it God's way or we go hungry. On page 10 of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy quotes James 4: 3: "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts."
It is worth noting, maybe, that the Greek word for lust in James 4: 1 & 3 is hedone (pleasure), the root of our word hedonism, not the gnarlier word for lust, which is used elsewhere in the New Testament, epithumia (desire, over desire). Still, our petty lusts will not entitle us to a "get out of jail free" card while the really serious lusters are squeezed mercilessly to the last farthing of suffering. As I have quoted before:
The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices
Make instruments to plague us.
Shakespeare, King Lear, Act V, Sc 3
In Winnie-the-Pooh Pooh and Piglet set out to trap the nonexistent heffalump. To them it is very real, though they've never seen one. Mankind's infatuation with the heffalumps of matter and assorted fleshly nougats, which he thinks he knows through the five senses, is just as ridiculous but much less charming. Temporary material needs are one thing. A "harmless" sampling of forbidden goodies is another. Of course one boilermaker won't sentence you instantly to the torments of Dante's Inferno any more than the leap, per se, from a 50-story building will kill you. Floors 49 through 2 should be a painless breeze. It's the eventual and inevitable stop at the street that makes the leap something worth avoiding. For one given to sophistries and self-justification there may be a pecking order of lusts and no-noes, but a tiny concession to matter is still a concession and a smidgen of agony is as painful as a slathering.
If we truly desire to be worthy of the name Christian Scientist, our song must become and forever be, if it isn't already, "Nearer, my God, to Thee,/Nearer to Thee" (hymn #192). Those fond or wistful backward glances at the heffalumps of false attraction may be pleasant to mortal eyes, but they will, if indulged, rapaciously devour the Christliness within us.
Note: I appreciate the recommendation to submit the now not-so-recent Christmas poem to the Journal. However, there is the little matter of "submitted by". "Christian" wouldn't do, and neither would the logical alternative. Plus, the thought of having it picked over and scrubbed by editors is also not appealing, though it is highly unlikely it would ever get that far into the maw of the system. Thank you, nevertheless, for the kind thought.
Note 2: I apologize for the long delay between the previous entry and this one, assuming anyone remains to notice, that is. There have been a number of unwelcome distractions and annoyances to deal with, too much of Martha and not enough of Mary. It may not be the last time.