Christ My Refuge is one of many inspiring poems written by the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. It is one of seven of her poems which have been set to music and are often sung in Christian Science services and testimonial meetings from the pages of The Christian Science Hymnal. The words of Christ My Refuge may be found in Hymns 253 -257.
Having sung every version of this Hymn repeatedly in church and Sunday School since my childhood, I became so familiar with the text that its words come to mind immediately and easily. But its spiritual message is deep and inspiring. To breathe it in requires contemplation and a desire to be uplifted. It tells a story of developing consciousness, elevating itself from material sense to the realization of God’s love and presence through inspiration, awakening, gratitude, awareness, assurance, and finally finding a prayerful rest.
O’er waiting harp-strings of the mind
There sweeps a strain,
Low, sad, and sweet, whose measures bind
The power of pain,
Mortal sense seems to leave our human mind in a state of susceptibility to its claims of pain. The only true consciousness being the reflection of divine Mind, God, the human mind always stands ready to be aligned with the divine. It needs only to part with false mortal sense in order to find its divine nature and to find how to elevate itself into the purer conceptions of the one divine Mind. The course which the human mind follows and the ensuing harmony or disharmony depends upon the quality of the tune which consciousness hears played upon its harp strings. Divine Love continually plays its strain upon the mind. Error would play on these strings too, and it plucks on the strings with abandon, making unskilled and discordant attempts to drown out the harmonious sounds of truth. But when error is manacled and quieted and subdued, then the ever present strains of Love can again be heard. Awareness of the harmonious sound brings the promise of dominion over error.
And wake a white-winged angel throng
of thoughts, illumed
By faith, and breathed in raptured song,
With love perfumed.
Hearing the harmonious and beautiful music played upon the harp-strings of the mind by divine Love awakens consciousness to an infinity of beautiful angelic messages emanating from above – heavenly thoughts from the divine Mind. Each one is aglow with the full confidence of faith in Love, and is animated by the perfect music played upon these strings of consciousness, continually exuding the effects of Love’s actions.
Then His unveiled, sweet mercies show
Life’s burdens light.
I kiss the cross, and wake to know
A world more bright.
These pure messages from divine Mind release the human mind of its problems and hindrances, and reveal in their place divine mercy and promise. With the joy of this promise comes a gratitude for Christ, bringing an even deeper awakening to the assurance of present harmony.
And o’er earth’s troubled, angry sea
I see Christ walk,
And come to me, and tenderly
Though consciousness has now become aware of the strength of God’s presence, it has not yet disposed of its fears of mortality. The human mind still pictures itself drowning in a sea of error, threatened by evil. God said “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters and let it divide the waters from the waters” (Genesis 1:6) is interpreted by Mrs. Eddy as “Spiritual understanding, by which the human conception, material sense, is separated from Truth, is the firmament” (S&H 505:7) Christ walking on the water prefigures the presence of a mental firmament which lifts consciousness above the foaming waters of error and into a position of fearless dominion. The angels have brought the presence of Christ to consciousness. Beholding Christ in consciousness, our own consciousness, we behold our dominion over all evil and see it coming to us, lovingly talking to us.
Thus Truth engrounds me on the rock,
Upon Life’s shore,
‘Gainst which the winds and waves can shock,
Oh, never –more!
This firmament lifts consciousness firmly above the foaming and dashing waters of evil onto the security of the rocky shore, where we can no longer be touched by the angry ocean of errors.
From tired joy and grief afar,
And nearer Thee, -
Father, where thine own children are,
I love to be.
Having found ourselves safe on solid ground, on the rocks we rest, and rejoice that we have discovered we are isolated and separated from error as long as we are conscious of the presence of the Christ. We love to be here!
My prayer, some daily good to do
To thine, for Thee.
An offering pure of Love, whereto
God leadeth me.
In prayer we work daily to reach this perfect consciousness, putting mortal selfhood out of thought and sacrificing all which is material and temporal. With the recognition that we are the appearance of God’s awareness of Himself, we are ever led to continue this great sacrifice of mortality until we arrive at the climax of spiritual existence.