The book, We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, vol. II with its honesty and clarity, was stunning. While I have always been grateful to Mrs. Eddy and the early Christian Science workers for all the hardships they encountered and overcame, I really had no idea of how difficult their challenges were. The hatred and danger that Mrs. Eddy encountered were shocking to me. I now have a much deeper appreciation for her wisdom, courage, perseverance and inspiration to protect and share the great gift of Christian Science with the world.
The early workers’ sacrifice and obedience were astounding. With each account of their service, I kept asking myself, “Could I have done this (even if I had been called to Pleasant View in the first place)?” They were truly like Jesus’ disciples, who left their nets to “follow me.” As Adam Dickey noted (p. 389), people were not invited to Mrs. Eddy’s home for their own improvement. They were there for but one purpose (p. 405), “To serve their leader and to protect her against malicious attacks of mortal mind in her endeavors to give to the world the religion of Christian Science.” While physically leaving behind family and friends is generally not required of us today, the healing work of Christian Science does require our obedience to its teachings, self-discipline, and sacrifices usually of “the ways of the world,” but sometimes deeper than that.
Regarding Mrs. Eddy’s continuing leadership in the 21st century, what William Rathvon wrote (p. 588) almost 100 years ago could have been written today: “Every time a Christian Scientist, young or otherwise, opens his textbook, says his daily prayer, studies his Bible Lesson, attends Sunday School or church, visits our Reading Rooms, hears a lecture, reads our periodicals, or makes a demonstration great or small, he has a reminder before him of our Leader’s loving consideration of his needs and of her thoughtful means of supplying them. Let him, then, recognize her as ever belonging to the present and not to the past.”
Her leadership requires followers who will do their part, a crucial part – the healing work that shows the world the utility, timeliness, and timelessness of Christian Science.