In this week’s lesson on “Probation After Death” is a reference to Shekinah. On page 40 of the Christian Science textbook, Mary Baker Eddy writes “The nature of Christianity is peaceful and blessed, but in order to enter into the kingdom, the anchor of hope must be cast beyond the veil of matter into the Shekinah into which Jesus has passed before us; and this advance beyond matter must come through the joys and triumphs of the righteous as well as through their sorrows and afflictions.”
If any reader is better informed on the subject of the theology of Judaism, I welcome your corrections or comments about the following. This basic research provided here is to assist the reader in spiritually understanding Mrs. Eddy’s sentence which references the Shekinah. According to Wikapedia, in Judaism, Shekinah is a holy blessing which denotes the presence of God, especially in the Temple in Jerusalem. The traditional Jews of that era (and perhaps today – I am no expert on Jewish theology) taught that divinity is not personified in the imagery of a person. The Jewish Kabbalists of that period taught that the anthropomorphic characteristics of God (the idea that God is manlike) were only a metaphor to help explain the nature of God to human beings. Around the year 1200, the Jewish sect of Maimonides also held that the form of the divine being is not and cannot be corporeal. The Jews who initially established this blessing of Shekinah were, then, essentially celebrating the divine and incorporeal presence of God. The Christ represents the incorporeal presence of God, and the Christ nature was perfectly personified in Jesus. On account of his Messiahship, Jesus passed naturally into this Shekinah, this blessing of his incorporeal Christ nature. What can we deduce from this as the higher meaning of Mrs. Eddy’s sentence?
If we think of Shekinah as a spiritual portal into a higher incorporeal realm of being, this sentence tells us that we must anchor ourselves there if we would find our way heavenward. Jesus, the Way-shower, passed into it before us. He was our exemplar, and we are to go and do as he did. It will not be an easy road to follow, as the life of Jesus showed us. But the rewards will be well worth the price. If we, on the other hand, choose to anchor ourselves in the hopes of worldly materiality, there is no hope of our advancing beyond its self imposed limitations.
On an unrelated note, it might be added that the traditional Judaic view of God as incorporeal may very well have contributed to their misunderstanding of Jesus’ claims as to whom he really was. Perhaps they viewed him as a claim to divinity personified in a corporeal form. Jesus, according to their way of thinking, “made himself equal with God” by his admission of Sonship. Since they saw Jesus as claiming himself to be equal with God, this certainly clashed with their theology which in fact insisted that God is not and cannot be corporeal. As it turned out they were right on that count, for God is indeed incorporeal, and Jesus came presenting the perfect Christ nature of God in man. But because the Jews generally misunderstood who and what Jesus knew himself to be and claimed to be, namely the prophesied Messiah, history unfolded as it did.