I really enjoyed reading We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, Volume II, Expanded Edition.
As I read the accounts, what caught my attention were the examples of “beauty, order, and grandeur.” (Hymn 329) For example, the description by Joseph C. Mann about going to Pleasant View and being asked by Mrs. Eddy to be superintendent of the property, e.g., see to the upkeep and maintenance of the grounds, farm and garden duties, care of the horses, and any additional improvements Mrs. Eddy might request. The way Mann tells it is that Mrs. Eddy already had a “mental concept of divine possibilities to be humanly evolved by that transformation of an abandoned New England farm into a well-ordered simple estate.” (p. 149) Mrs. Eddy hoped Mann would look after the place “as if it were my own” and instead of seeking advice from the previous superintendent (Mr. Frye), he was instructed to ask God for advice.
What spoke to me in this account was the opportunity to bring beauty, order, and grandeur to the everydayness of running a farm and managing the property so that it exemplified Christian Science and fully supported the work of Mrs. Eddy – something I had never considered before. Mann’s account ministers to me at this time because I have a yearning to 1) lessen our family’s carbon footprint by growing more of our food and 2) contribute surplus to food pantries. And this account ramps up my desire and obligation to make this small endeavor a spiritual endeavor.
I think this realization answers both your questions. I can/will readily pass along this realization to fellow Christian Scientists, family members, or those who know little of Christian Science – those who also value gardening/farming/ranching.
And reading this book, particularly this account, changed my life by deepening my yearning to lessen our carbon footprint…to reframe it as a desire to care more for those things right at hand with which I can be of service to mankind. I would like to paraphrase Mrs. Eddy’s vision for Pleasant View to something like: “a mental concept of divine possibilities to be humanly evolved by the transformation of an abandoned garden (neighbors have told us that there used to be a large Victory Garden in our front yard) into a well-ordered, 21st Century Victory Garden.”
Seems like, in this instance, as I spiritualize my small part in the farm-to-table/farm-to-school/local food movement, I support a kind of leadership moving into the second century of Christian Science, learning lessons from Mann’s demonstration, and practicing Christian Science right where God has planted me.