I just finished my second reading of We Knew Mary Baker Eddy Vol.2.
Towards the end of the book, a little incident stands out to me. It’s in Adelaide Still’s reminiscence on page 464. Adelaide has heard that Mrs. Eddy can be very stern, and as a kitchen worker, she is glad in that moment that she isn’t Mrs. Eddy’s maid. Then she says “Then, as a sense of love and gratitude filled my consciousness, I thought, ‘If she has struggles, she needs loving help more than she would if she always walked over the waves of error, and I’m willing to do anything that God wants me to do.” A few days later she encountered Mrs. Eddy in a hallway and of course Mrs. Eddy detects this love and willingness in her thought and she ends up becoming the maid!
This is so clear throughout the book, that Mrs. Eddy wasn’t looking for perfection; she was looking for willingness to love. So many people didn’t pass her interviews because they were looking for something from her, or wanting to enjoy being with her as a celebrity, not thinking about what she might need.
I’m thinking about what she would look for in a church member - the Reader who enunciates perfectly, the Sunday School teacher who knows their Bible inside out, the person who makes it to church every single Wednesday and gives a perfect testimony. Or maybe someone who doesn’t do everything perfectly but loves dearly every other church member through thick and thin? Love was such the theme of her life; the book makes that point perfectly clear over and over. And those who expressed the most love were the dearest to her. I think what she would be most pleased with in a branch church is Christian Scientists expressing unity and care for one another and helping the newcomer to feel welcome.
In response to your question about leadership…It was interesting to me how the Manual came to be, and how each By-Law was a struggle through prayer. It gives me more of an appreciation for the Manual and it’s powerful place in God’s church - the structure of Truth and Love.