I am beginning to see that this year’s association assignment isn’t something I’ll just be able to check off. Yes, I have finished reading We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, vol. II but the sharing and growth required is not something that I can just spend an afternoon on and put behind me — which is great! I love the new ways this is causing me to interact with Science. Instead of just thinking about sharing, for example, the assignment provides me with material to share with different people and pushes me to look for opportunities to do so. I started with my wife, giving her a quote from the book about home to display in our home, and continued by sending an email to relatives. I also have a quote picked out to share with my mother-in-law relating to a question she asked me about how Christian Science can deny the existence of matter when nature is so beautiful. To this concern, Mrs. Eddy reassures us, “goodness and beauty go side by side. Beauty is a thing of life, not apart from nature. The principle of good is inseparable from the principle of beauty.”
As for fellow Christian Scientists, I might begin with this, which I hope can be useful to others in the association, church, etc.:
We would do well to remember that our leader encouraged students to ask each other for treatment — and often did so herself. According to Jennie Sawyer, she did this even with new students. This may be because those who are “young in Science” would not have default arguments or formulas that they habitually start with when treating.
One of the most common (and perhaps formulaic) forms of treatment one hears about is the negative argument. It is interesting that Mrs. Eddy told Lida Fitzpatrick that “the negation will not do the work, i.e., arguing no disease, etc. It is the Truth that does the work.” It seems to me that she wanted to encourage healers to be active. In some ways, simply denying matter without then filling thought with the Truth puts an early end to the active progress required for healing and growth. Another statement, related by Adam Dickey, should also give Christian Scientists pause: “The workers in the field are not healing because they are not meeting animal magnetism which says they cannot heal.” How many reasons for not healing have we all believed in?
Considering the topic of sharing with those who know little of Science, I thought it was interesting to see how workers like Janette Weller and Joseph Eastman were able to find so much early success in Christian Science healing without knowing very much about it at all. Perhaps I should expect more fruits from those in my life with little Christian Science experience. One statement by Edward Norwood stood out as a useful explanation of what Science adds to the understanding of Christianity: “Jesus showed that dying didn’t kill us, and Mrs. Eddy showed that being born doesn’t cause us to live.” (p. 283)
What I felt reading this book was a great deal of encouragement and a call to do more than I do. I loved Jennie Sawyer’s account of how she learned in class that the feeling of being lost does not mean God is not working on one. The lost feeling is simply an emotional state — belief in self passing away.
I learned that I need to love more… but how? Loving is seeing others as Love sees them — knowing God’s idea — that is all that is needed in order to love. Mrs. Eddy defined love by saying, “It transforms the unreal into the real.” It is not an emotion; you do not have to “feel” anything to love, but when we do it we inevitably feel more affection for others.