A helpful and impressive feature of Christian Science church worship is the repetition of the Lord's Prayer by the congregation in unison. It is prominent at each service, mid-week and Sunday, and offers to every one present, visitor or member, equal opportunity to join in an outward expression of devotion. Its position in the order of our services was fixed by Mrs. Eddy, and it was by her direction, too, that all are invited to join in it. This privilege is appreciated, and few indeed are the silent lips in our churches after the opening words of the Lord's Prayer are spoken. But a timely word of caution needs to be given, lest we unwittingly drift into a habit of serious delinquency that is already marked in a number of our churches. The writer has had occasion to attend Sunday and Wednesday night services in many places widely separated, and has found it a rule with few notable exceptions that the first two words of the prayer, "Our Father," are voiced by the reader alone, the congregation remaining silent, and only uniting heartily when the next words, "which art in heaven," are reached. This practice has grown to such an extent that apparently neither reader nor congregation looks for unison in repetition, until after the opening words have been uttered by the single voice of the reader. Should he, too, remain silent, the Lord's Prayer as repeated in many of our churches would become an unaddressed invocation, an incomplete, not to say mutilated, petition.

The two significant words with which this prayer begins may be regarded as credentials of man's divine sonship, the declaration of the divine fatherhood. They also proclaim the brotherhood of man; they indicate our at-one-ment with divine Principle. Jesus' use of the words "Our Father" reveals him as our elder brother, leading us tenderly and lovingly into the presence of the Father-Mother God,—his and ours alike. They are first in prominence and deep in significance, and a realization of all they carry for Christian Scientists will heal the sick and bind up the broken-hearted. They cannot be omitted or neglected without impairing the power and beauty of the whole prayer.

July 6, 1912

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