“Our testimony in brick and mortar”

Recently, I was appointed Chairman of the Accommodation Committee for our branch church. For many years, we had desired to have our own place of worship. The challenge always seemed to be the exorbitant cost of property and building materials and the financial strength (or what was perceived as the lack) of our church accounts. A few years ago we got property, although it was in dire need of restructuring and renovation. The task ahead of our committee was to put in a new ceiling and floor and to paint the walls. Humanly, the cost seemed prohibitive, given the paucity of funds available.

When I learnt of my appointment and the task that lay ahead, I turned immediately to God for leading and direction. I was wading in uncharted waters, as I have no inkling about building. I was reassured by this statement in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy: “Nothing can be novel to eternal Mind, the author of all things, who from all eternity knoweth His own ideas” (S&H 519:1–2). The further realization that church is a spiritual idea already complete in Mind was strengthening. As I prayed and studied, what seemed like a Herculean task was mentally whittled down in size. I realized that what we would witness was the unfolding of God’s idea.

At our first meeting in January, we agreed unanimously to begin with the ceiling work. The cost seemed staggering to mortal mind, but I was listening only to spiritual sense. With spiritual audacity, I encouraged our members to set a two-week period to have the ceiling put in. They agreed, albeit somewhat doubtful of what seemed like an overly ambitious project with a near impossible outcome. (The initial thought had been to complete the ceiling by the end of the fiscal year in October.)

I thought quite a bit about the metaphysical basis that supported the building of the original edifice of the Mother Church. A letter about this work that James J. Rome wrote to Mrs. Eddy was instructive: “I noticed that as soon as the workmen began to admit that the work could be done, everything seemed to move as by magic; the human mind was giving its consent” (My. 61:21–24).

I was confident that we, too, have an infinite Source, from which our abundant income of ideas flows. And so it proved. Our ceiling was complete in two weeks, with funds to spare. We had also done some work on the electrical wiring, which was extra-budgetary.

The church membership began to give testimonies at Wednesday evening meetings, not only expressing their gratitude for the work being done, but for the practical exposure of animal magnetism as a powerless nothing. In support of the building project, our church held a metaphysical meeting in March, and I was asked to talk on the topic “God’s Inexhaustible Resources,” with an emphasis on church building. The prayerful preparation and study this afforded me healed any lingering doubts I had about our ability to reflect God. I was beginning to really see that reflection is natural.

Soon, everyone accepted that we could put in the floor, and that we did not need to stint on quality. At one point, I got a call from one of the committee members supervising the flooring project. He mentioned that the work would be stalled if we didn’t get more funds within the hour. As I turned away from this false picture and prayed, I was reassured to know that divine Love takes us all the way, and that I could not only be grateful for this, but express it practically. Later that evening, I got another call from the committee member. He said the work had gone forward, because within the hour we had received a significant and sufficient donation.

Yesterday, the last wall of our new church building was painted with the best quality paint available. When the committee was constituted, the human picture was that our task would take a few years to complete. It took three months.

Our members learnt a lesson in Christian Science: We do not need to wait according to the erroneous timetable of material sense in order to see the ever-present “structure of Truth and Love.” It is a spiritual place, God’s complete idea.

Yet again, I have seen firsthand, practical evidence of how Christian Science works and how the Christ heals. While I appreciate the beauty of our branch church, I am so much more grateful for its usefulness, the healing work that goes on in the individual experience of each member, the uplifting of the community, the welcome it extends to anyone who wishes to come and be part of our services. We are calling it “our testimony in brick and mortar.”

By the way, the Committee has been given another task—to provide a standby electric generator and air conditioning units. The members know it shall be done. “What cannot God do?” (S&H 135:20)