No—this isn’t a post about the harvesting of maple syrup!
It’s about our need to protect our thought—to be truly vigilant about what may be influencing us erroneously. To be watching as Mary Baker Eddy instructed John C. Lathrop:
To watch is to become conscious of your danger. (We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, Expanded Edition, Vol. 1., p. 262).
That’s a remarkable statement and one that’s quite different from what ‘watching’ is normally associated with in reference to “watch and pray.” Yet it’s one that is essential to our healing practice as well as our spiritual progress.
So what does “sapping” have to do with any of this?
Actually, quite a lot!
Sapping is a military technique that has been used at least since the Middle Ages in siege warfare. In essence, it involves a method employed by the attacking forces to breach the walls of a fortress, not by a direct ground assault, but by digging trenches or mines below the soil to the foundations of the walls. The assailants then packed the foundation with gun powder, exploded it, and caused not only the foundation but the walls it supported to collapse, which in turn gave their forces access to the citadel.
The defenders—often preoccupied with the obvious above-ground attacks that had been going on—were more or less oblivious to the deeper and more dangerous threat to their position coming from beneath, that is until it was too late.
There’s a metaphysical lesson to be gleaned from this—one that can aid us in uncovering the specific error underlying sin, disease, and death, rather than misdirecting our healing “fire” at the superficial.
Did you know that Mrs. Eddy referred to “sapping” twice in Science and Health and both were in the context of undermining foundations—clearly indicating its military usage?
The first describes what would happen if we give up our false sense of God:
If mankind would relinquish the belief that God makes sickness, sin, and death, or makes man capable of suffering on account of this malevolent triad, the foundations of error would be sapped and error’s destruction ensured… (p. 357)
And the second tells of evil’s assault on our true identity as the reflection of Spirit:
Error begins by reckoning life as separate from Spirit, thus sapping the foundations of immortality, as if life and immortality were something which matter can both give and take away. (p. 539)
How often have each of us—like the defenders in a fortress—been misdirected by error to only look at the surface of a problem (symptom) rather than detect the underlying fear that would attempt to sap us from the foundations of Truth upon which each of us, in spiritual reality, stand?
Perhaps a healing has been eluding you, try as you may to handle the beliefs that have been assaulting and attempting to overwhelm you. Maybe you see so many mental attackers in the guise of symptoms, reactions, and obligations occupying your thought and attention that it seems like the enemy is coming at you from every direction.
Take heart—by using your God-given spiritual discernment, you can see what’s going on. You can see what needs to be rooted out, exposed, and destroyed by the truth of being. By the truth as revealed in Christian Science. By the power of Almighty God!
In the same reminiscences by Lathrop, he related how Mrs. Eddy told him:
Christian Scientists do not close their eyes to evil, but open them. They open their eyes, spiritual discernment, and awaken to the true nature of evil or sin, to its false claims, methods, subtlety, etc., and then realize its nothingness, its utter powerlessness to control or to harm. (p. 269).
There’s no doubt that we need to be vigilant sentinels on the parapets of consciousness—alert to any and all attempts of error to have us fall for its illusory traps, whether they’re on the surface or below.
And the duty to do so is one that we dare not forsake if we expect to victoriously sap the foundation of error instead!
Thank you, Ken, for the helpful spiritual insights!!! Ah, yes! To be vigilant, even and especially with the subtleties of error! Sapping certainly is a scary supposition. One thing that has helped me when I have felt that something is or might be “going on behind my back,” out of my sightline, no matter how vigilant I’m being. It’s the declaration that “God’s got my back!” and then I need to behave accordingly with full confidence in God’s ever-presence and omnipotence as only Good unfolding, uninterrupted and blessing me and mine and all. Otherwise, just the fear alone of the possibility of being “sapped” can “sap” our spiritual confidence and taunt us with the illusion of a shaky foundation under a “house of cards.” And yet, “The supremacy of Spirit was the foundation on which Jesus built” (S&H 138:14). It’s the “Rock-solid” foundation every Christian Scientist has been taught to build upon. It’s the Truth of being that cannot compromise with suppositious error. We, like Mrs. Eddy, must continue to consecrate our lives to prove that all is well and that we live and move and have our being in a “No Sapping Zone.” J
You’re welcome and thanks for your thoughts and comments! 🙂
The interesting thing that I’ve found is that being alert, defending our thought, and staying awake to the attempts of error to sap, leads us closer to God–not to fear–since those actions are God-impelled and to do so we must use our God-given spiritual discernment (as Mrs. Eddy wrote).